Defense

July 18, 2016
 

Air Force kicks off Red Flag 16-3

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TSgt. Julius Delos Reyes
Nellis AFB, Nev.

Maj. Kyle Ruthford, an F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot from the 79th Fighter Squadron, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., climbs into his jet day 1 of Red Flag, July 11, 2016, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. The exercise will test participants’’ ability to operate in air, cyberspace and space.

The Air Force kicked off a three-week long Red Flag 16-3 exercise on July 11, 2016 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

Red Flag 16-3 is a U.S.-only exercise that will test all participating units’ combat capabilities in a joint environment that centers on multi-domain integration.  

Red Flag is the service’s premier air-to-air combat training exercise and one of a series of advanced training programs that is administered by the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center and executed through the 414th Combat Training Squadron.  Previous Red Flag exercises have provided experiences to master the air domain, but todays’ flags must incorporate all domains.

Maj. Kyle Ruthford, an F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot the 79th Fighter Squadron, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., conducts pre-flight inspections day 1 of Red Flag, July 11, 2016, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. More than 100 aircraft from 25 different joint units will participate in the exercise.

“We fly, fight and win in air, space and cyberspace.  This is the exercise where we’ll put this to the test,” said Col. DeAnna Burt, Red Flag 16-3 Air Expeditionary Wing commander.  

Burt is the first space domain leader to ever command an AEW at a Red Flag exercise, a position that has traditionally been staffed by aviators. She will lead the joint operation into accomplishing its main objective of, “establishing habits of achieving multi-domain combat success today to enable the rapid defeat of America’s adversaries tomorrow.”

As an AEW commander, Burt will be focused on multi-domain execution and will be engaging participants to determine how they plan to utilize the capabilities of all domains to supplement a tactical mission.

Capt. Justin Lee, 79th Fighter Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot, dons his gear during Red Flag 16-3 exercise at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., June 11, 2016. This year, 115 aircraft from 25 Department of Defense units will be operating at the Nevada Test and Training Range, the Air Force’s premier military training area with more than 15,000 square miles of airspace and 2.9 million acres of land.

“We want to force people out of their comfort zone. We’ll be pushing them to talk about kinetic and non-kinetic effects and how when they are synchronized achieve tactical success,” the colonel explained.

Historically, the exercise’s third iteration of the year is a US-only operation. This year, 115 aircraft from 25 Department of Defense units will be operating at the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR), the Air Force’s premier military training area with more than 15,000 square miles of airspace and 2.9 million acres of land. And for the first time, an F-35 is participating in the exercise. The aircraft is from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, based at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz.

Red Flag 16-3 participants are faced with 1,900 possible targets, realistic threat systems and an opposing enemy force that cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world.  Nellis AFB and the NTTR are the home of a simulated battlefield, providing combat air forces the ability to train to fight together in a peacetime environment, and to survive and win together.
 

Airmen from the 79th Fighter Squadron from Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., conduct a walk searching for possible foreign object debris at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., before the first air missions take off day 1 of Red Flag. Red Flag 16-3 is one of four Red Flag exercises at Nellis.

 

Maj. Kyle Ruthford, an F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot from the 79th Fighter Squadron, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., conducts pre-flight inspections day 1 of Red Flag, July 11, 2016, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. The exercise will test participants’’ ability to operate in air, cyberspace and space.

 

Capt. Christopher Garner, 79th Fighter Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot, inspects the cockpit prior to a flight mission during Red Flag 16-3 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., July 11, 2016. Red Flag is the service’s premier air-to-air combat training exercise and one of a series of advanced training programs administered by the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center and executed through the 414th Combat Training Squadron.

 

Airman 1st Class Shawn Kelly, 79th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, prepares an F-16 Fighting Falcon for a flight mission during Red Flag 16-3 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., July 11, 2016. Although the exercise will test all participating units, 16-3 will provide a deeper understanding on space and cyber systems capabilities and how they contribute to the multi-domain aspect of the operation.

 

Capt. Justin Lee looks out over the Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., flight line as he heads to his F-16 Fighting Falcon day one of Red Flag, July 11, 2016. Lee is the 79th Fighter Squadron at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C.

 

A 555th Fighter Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon from Aviano Air Base, Italy, takes off from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., June 11, 2016, as part of Red Flag 16-3 exercise. Red Flag is the service’s premier air-to-air combat training exercise and one of a series of advanced training programs administered by the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center and executed through the 414th Combat Training Squadron.

 

A 79th Fighter Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon from Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., taxis on the flightline during Red Flag 16-3 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., July 11, 2016. Red Flag is the service’s premier air-to-air combat training exercise and one of a series of advanced training programs administered by the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center and executed through the 414th Combat Training Squadron.

 




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