July 27, 2018

Red Flag 18-3: Readiness through innovation, integration and interoperability

Airman Bailee A. Darbasie
Nellis AFB, Nev.

Colombian air force F-21 Kfir fighter jets on the Nellis flightline.

Southern Nevada residents may notice an increase in military aircraft activity from July 23 through Aug. 3, as Nellis begins the U.S. Air Force’s largest air-to-air combat training exercise: Red Flag 18-3.

Red Flag exercises provide mission commanders, maintenance personnel, ground controllers and air, space and cyber operators the opportunity to experience realistic combat scenarios to prepare for future warfare.

The goal of Red Flag 18-3 is to maintain air, space and cyber superiority through innovation, integration and interoperability.

“Red Flag exercises deliver readiness,” said Col. Michael Mathes, 414th Combat Training Squadron commander. “They are unmatched opportunities for our Airmen, sister services and international participants to experience realistic combat scenarios that prepare them for future conflicts.”

In addition, the Colombian air force will participate in the exercise to enhance training and foster enduring relationships through shared participation in operations.

A Colombian air force pilot arrives at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., for Red Flag 18-3.

“The Colombian air force’s participation for this iteration of Red Flag is building on our two countries’ long-standing partnership and cooperation,” said Mathes. “We continue to learn from each other and the insight we gain into each other’s operations ensures we maintain a high level of mutual readiness.”

Linking participants through teamwork-enforced activities provides a more adaptable force.

“For the Colombian air force, participating for the second time in Red Flag signifies the opportunity to increase the training of our pilots in a very challenging environment,” said Brig. Gen. Pablo Garcia, Aerial Combat Command 1 commander. “We are ready to learn, apply our knowledge and gain more experience in combat aerial maneuvers with combat squadrons of the U.S. Air Force.”

Red Flag ensures combat air forces are ready to win the nation’s wars and builds partnerships and interoperability among allies and across multiple domains.

Since its establishment in 1975, Red Flag has provided training for over 440,000 military personnel, including members of approximately 28 allied countries’ air forces, through various exercise scenarios over the skies of the Nevada Test and Training Range.

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