Defense

March 2, 2018
 

Nellis AFB hosts Red Flag 18-1

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John Battey
staff writer

A Royal Air Force GR4 Typhoon flies a mission during Red Flag 18-1 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada hosted the first Red Flag exercise of 2018.

The traditional participants — the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corp and U.S. Army — were joined by our two closest allies Australia and the United Kingdom.

The United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force flew their frontline fighter jet the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Royal Australian Air Force took part with the EA-18G Growler — flying every week, with day with day and night missions during the three-week long exercise.

Col. Michael Mathes, 414th Combat Training Squadron commander, said this was the largest Red Flag ever.

“We’re trying a few new and different things with Red Flag 18-1,” said Mathes. “It’s the largest Red Flag ever with the largest number of participants, highlighting the balance of training efficiency with mission effectiveness.”

While Red Flag occurs in multiple iterations annually, each one has a unique training purpose — 18-1 was no exception.

A U.S. Air Force T-38 Talon at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., for Red Flag 18-1.

“Red Flag 18-1 was primarily is a strike package focused training venue that we integrate at a command and control level in support of joint task force operations,” said Mathes. “It’s a lot of words to say that we integrate every capability we can into strike operations that are flown out of Nellis Air Force Base.”

The training offered during Red Flag has prepared armed forces for future engagements.

“Red Flag remains a great mix of heritage and future potential,” said Mathes. “We are very proud of our heritage with the way that red flag had improved survivability and readiness over the years. We look forward as we continue to grow readiness through integrated training as well as improving training efficiency.”

The U.S. Air Force’s frontline fighter aircraft — including the F-22 Raptor, the F-15 Eagle and the F-16 Fighting Falcon – alongside several reconnaissance aircraft and refuelers, took part with more 80 aircraft flying each mission. Nellis Air Force Base’s 64th Aggressor Squadron flew the “red” air mission.

A Royal Air Force GR4 Typhoon flies a mission during Red Flag 18-1 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

Red Flag is the world’s most realistic combat exercise and is flown at the Nevada Test and Training Range with more than 15,000 square miles of airspace and 2.9 million acres of land. Red Flag’s primary focus is to replicate the first 10 days of a major tactical, large force deployment and the training is focused at the tactical level of warfare with the primary training geared toward the newest pilot in a squadron known as the Blue 4 Wingman.

The exercise included offensive counter air, interdiction, suppression of enemy air defenses, command-and-control, and other integrated aspects such as close air support, combat search-and-rescue, special operations, tactical airlift and aerial refueling.

The exercise also included an air-to-air threat, surface-to-air threat and target array as Red Flag continues to be the world’s most realistic training of U.S. Air Force, NATO pilots, allied and support personnel in real combat situations as Nellis and its vast training ranges continue to host the only large deployment exercise offered anywhere in the world.
 

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon from the 64th Aggressor Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base. Nev., takes off with afterburner.

 

An F-15C Strike Eagle from the Oregon Air National Guard takes off from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

 

A Royal Air Force Airbus A330 Voyager refueler flies in the skies over Nevada during Red Flag 18-1.

 

An F-15C Strike Eagle from the Oregon Air National Guard takes off from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

 

A U.S.  Navy EA-18G Growler flies a mission during Red Flag 18-1.

 

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon from the 64th Aggressor Squadron based at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., flies during Red Flag 18-1.

 

An F-15C Strike Eagle from the 142nd Fighter Wing, Oregon Air National Guard, takes off during Red Flag 18-1 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

 

A Royal Australian Air Force EA-18G Growler from No. 6 Squadron, flies a mission during Red Flag 18-1 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.




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