World

July 27, 2012

Colombia participates in Red Flag for first time

Tags:
By Staff Sgt. William Coleman
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Col. Hans Palaoro, Chief, United States Air Force Mission-Colombia, shakes the hand of Colombian air force Capt. Freddy Figueroa, pilot, after landing at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., July 13, 2012. Palaoro welcomes the Colombian air force on their arrival at Nellis for Colombia’s first-ever Red Flag. Their arrival culminates two years of preparation and training for this long-awaited event which begins Monday.

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Red Flag exercises bring unique training opportunities to air forces from multiple nations, and for the first time, the Colombian air force embraced those opportunities.

The journey Colombia made to participate in Red Flag started more than three years ago when its air force was recognized for its ability to perform air operations in complex environments.

“We want to work interoperability issues with our partners, and Colombia is one of our strongest friends in the world,” said Col. Hans Palaoro, chief of Air Force Mission MILGROUP Colombia. “They are a country that wants to work with us, and we want to work with them. Red Flag is the big game, and their air force knows that”

Each Red Flag exercise involves a variety of interdiction, attack, air superiority, defense suppression, airlift, air refueling and reconnaissance aircraft. Red Flag provides a peacetime “battlefield” within which combat air forces can train.

Aircraft and service members deploy here for Red Flag under the Air Expeditionary Force concept and make up the exercise’s “Blue” forces. By working together, these Blue forces are able to utilize the diverse capabilities of their aircraft to engage enemy “Red” forces.

Not only do participants get to learn, train and battle each other, they get to fly with airframes not normally seen in each country’s respective airspace. The Colombian’s Kfir, which is Hebrew for young lion, is a multi-role combat aircraft found only in Sri Lanka, Ecuador and Colombia. The aircraft refuels with a basket and probe configuration similar to that of all U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps aircraft.

“We are working on the technical assessments so they will be able to refuel our assets as well,” Palaoro said. “The next time there is a natural disaster in the Caribbean, the Colombian tankers can refuel our Navy.”

Colombian air force pilots participating in Red Flag 12-4 pose for a group photo July 13, 2012, after arriving at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Red Flag is a realistic combat training exercise involving the air forces of the United States and its allies.

Accommodating aircraft from different nations means more than lending a hangar for maintenance, offices for mission planning and room to park the planes. The Kfir deploys a drag chute upon landing, requiring extra efforts from the ground crew to keep runways safe.

“After the last Kfir aircraft lands, we close off the runway for a couple of minutes,” said Staff Sgt. Beau Portman, 57th Operations Support Squadron air traffic control watch supervisor. “This time allows our Red Flag maintenance crew to gather each chute and remove it from the runway before more aircraft approach.”

Challenges await U.S. Air Force, Marine, Navy, United Arab Emirates and Colombian units as their aircraft take flight and conduct missions such as air interdiction, combat search and rescue, close air support, in-flight refueling, dynamic targeting and defensive counter air.. The Colombian air force will get the experience 28 other nations have received since Red Flag began in 1975 while enhancing its interoperability with allies.

“Getting the Colombian air force to Red Flag has been a huge interoperability success, we can do things with them in the future that never would have happened without this exercise,” Palaoro said.

“This is something they have been dreaming about since the generals were lieutenants,” Palaoro said.

 
See photo feature here.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
square

Luke Lightning strikes at Nellis

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Thomas Spangler An F-35A Lightning II assigned to the 61st Fighter Squadron, Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., taxis to the runway for a training exercise at Nellis AFB, Nev., April 15. Maintaine...
 
 

CSAF discusses Air Force’s need to reset

WASHINGTON — The Air Force Association hosted its monthly Air Force breakfast with Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III in Arlington, Virginia April 2. During his speech, Welsh addressed many topics and issues in today’s Air Force, including hitting the “reset button.” “For the last couple of years what we have...
 
 

Ten seconds later, that picture still exists

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — There is a conversation many teenagers have had with their parents or friends, me included. “Hey, don’t worry! It’ll be fine; all of the pictures I send disappear after 10 seconds. That’s how Snapchat works.” While many teenagers only share their silly, cross-eyed, quadruple-chinned faces with friends, there are a...
 

 

Becoming stronger through failure

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. — Failing the Air Force physical training test was my greatest fear since joining the military. It is embarrassing to admit recently that fear came to fruition, but what I have learned through that failure has become one of my greatest strengths. After failing, I definitely felt like a weak...
 
 

‘Eye’ see you

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikaley Towle Lisa Winkelman, 99th Aerospace Medicine Squadron optometry technician, simulates taking a vision test at the Optometry Clinic on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., April 15. Getting an eye exam is important to ensure eye vision and pressure is good and in the normal range. For...
 
 

Nellis AFB goes green for Earth Day

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — The first Earth Day occurred April 22, 1970, and was introduced by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. More than 20 million people and thousands of local schools and communities participated in the first Earth Day in the U.S. Across the Air Force today, installations are taking aggressive strides...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin