The UAE’s military might was on full display on Friday as special forces units took part in a live demonstration of their tactical skills.
Thousands of onlookers gathered at the Fujairah Corniche to watch helicopters, parachutists and ground troops stage mock battles against each other.
The event was part of the UAE’s fourth Union Fortress parade, held to showcase the nation’s military strength and to inspire young Emiratis to sign up.
Pretend battle scenarios included special forces protecting a dignitary in a motorcade as attackers set off fake explosives.
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The Navy, Air Force and Army also participated in a joint operation where parachutists released smoke in the colours of the UAE flag.
“I love the military and I want to join them to protect my country,” said seven-year-old Hashil Al Zayoudi.
His five-year-old sister Rayan said it was the first time she had seen a helicopter close up.
The huge crowds drawn to the event meant many spectators were unable to get to the Corniche.
Wearing a military uniform, eight-year-old Rashed Al Bloushi said he had been thrilled to watch the display despite not being close to the action.
“I saw helicopters flying above us, heard a lot of explosions and the flag colours filled the sky,” he said. “It was great.”
For Emirati Jasim Al Mismari, 38, the impressive display was the best parade he had ever seen.
“The show was perfectly organised and the staged scenes made us feel like we were in a real battle zone,” he said.
“It made us very proud of our brave armed forces and their dedication to keep us safe.”
The first Union Fortress show was held in Abu Dhabi in March last year and attracted huge crowds to watch a staged amphibious assault, helicopter exercises and a fly-by from the Al Fursan aerobatics squadron.
This was followed by Union Fortress displays in Al Ain and Sharjah in February to mark the Year of Zayed.
* Additional reporting by Haneen Dajani