The aim of this exercise has been to train for surge operations in war. Because of the induction of new aircraft and in the light of past experience, the rules governing this exercise were modified in 1996 to bring the latter in consonance with the wartime role of the various squadrons. The frequency of this exercise is the same as that of Wide Awake, i.e. once in every six months. The taskings are done by hte regional air commands. The completion of two such exercises for each combat squadron is mandatory. The OCUs and the squadrons of the CCS are tasked only during the slack period between the courses. The half-yearly requirement is not applicable to these squadrons. The exercise is conducted under the command and control of the squadron commander with the base commander exercising over all supervision through the OC Flying Wing.
The flying effort required of a squadron varies according to its role and the type of aircraft. F-16 and Mirage squadrons have as their task a night component also. A day prior to the exercise, tail numbers if the participating aircraft are required to be passed to the regional air commands by the squadron. Once selected, the aircraft can not be changed during the exercise. Similarly, names of the participating aircrew are to be forwarded to the respective commands a day prior to the commencement of the exercise. Aircraft and aircrew rotation for exercise Flat Out, form part of the ACES evaluation for maintenance efficiency and combat training, respectively.
The exercise is conducted on two consecutive days. The exercise hours are calculated from the first take-off till the last landing. The type, number, the minimum duration for different missions, and the configuration of various aircraft and squadrons are all specified in the relevant orders.