Defense

February 12, 2014

64th Aggressors sharpen combat edge at Red Flag 14-1

A 64th Aggressor Squadron helmet sits on an F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft Feb. 6 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. To provide a realistic training scenario during Red Flag, the 64th AGRS’s aircraft paint schemes are inspired to replicate near peer adversaries markings and insignias.

 
The red force’s simulated enemy plays a critical role as the opposing force during Red Flag 14-1 by providing U.S. and coalition combat forces from around the world challenges for tomorrow’s threats.

The aggressor program started as a direct result of a high air combat loss rate experience during the Vietnam War. The tactics the 64th Aggressor Squadron use during Red Flag are designed to train pilots for a higher survivability rate within their first 10 sorties in combat situations.

The 64th AGRS motto is “Know, Teach and Replicate.” The squadron achieves this by challenging joint and allied aircrews with training scenarios in the same way adversary air forces would do in a real war.

“We know our adversaries better than anyone else in the Air Force,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Gordon, 64th AGRS commander.

The squadron’s objective during each training scenario is to provide the blue forces, or joint and allied combat forces, threats to achieve a desired learning outcome for each mission.
 

Maj. Ryan Howland, 64th Aggressor Squadron pilot, taxis his F-16 Fighting Falcon to the active runway and displays his squadron’s hand signal prior to a Red Flag 14-1 training mission Jan. 29, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. The 64th AGRS motto is “Know, Teach and Replicate.” During Red Flag they challenge joint and allied aircrews with training scenarios in the same way adversary air forces would do in a real conflict or war.

 
“Our subject matter experts teach academics to a wide range of audiences across our sister services and to our allied partners in order to bring the collective knowledge of everyone to the level required for our warfighters to be successful,” Gordon said. “Finally, we replicate the threats our blue forces might face anywhere in the world. We do not replicate a certain country’s adversary; rather, we replicate a capability of various aircraft platforms to train our blue forces on how adversaries will employ them in combat.”

The agressors replicate a realistic combat environment over the skies of the Nevada Test and Training Range in F-16 Fighting Falcons.

To provide a realistic training scenario, the aircraft assigned to the 64th AGRS paint schemes vary and are a unique aspect of their mission. The aircraft are inspired to replicate near peer adversaries markings and insignias.

During Red Flag, the 64th AGRS is part of the red force threat package. The red force threats are aligned under the 57th Adversary Tactics Group. The group spans across all domains to include space, information, cyber, surface-to-air, and air.

“We bring the fight to our blue forces not as singletons operating independently in our own stovepipe, but rather collectively to increase our capabilities as a whole.” Gordon said. “The impacts we bring not only happen at the tactical level, say for instance one of our F-16s replicating a Su-27 Flanker trading shots with a blue F-15.”
 

SSgt. Wesley Ott, 57th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Viper Aircraft Maintenance Unit dedicated crew chief, salutes a 64th Aggressor Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot prior to a Red Flag 14-1 training mission Jan. 29, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. The 64th AGRS’s mission is to prepare the joint and allied aircrews for potential conflicts or war with challenging and realistic threat replication, training, academics and feedback.

 
The 57th ATG brings strategic impacts through U.S. Air Force-wide air, air defense, space and information aggressor’s initiatives, and threats academic programs.

“The exercise always starts out as a sparring partner, and [blue forces] don’t know what to expect,” said Major Eric Flattern, 57th Adversary Tactics Support Squadron and red force chief of adversary weapons, “We put one arm behind our backs and try to bloody their noses a little bit. It turns out blue forces are resilient because no one likes blood on their face. The good news is they are stepping up to the plate and actually moving forward throughout the week. Ultimately, it would be fantastic if they completely crushed us, but at the same time, it wouldn’t be fair if we went out there and made it easy for them every day.”

After each mission, aircrews debrief on the mocked combine air, ground space and electronic threat environment for an exchange of ideas between forces and how to better prepare for future.

Nellis has hosted Red Flag since its inception in 1975. Three Red Flags are scheduled for this fiscal year, and exercise participants gain experience from red force challenges, thereby providing a credible learning experience.
 

Three F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 64th Aggressor Squadron hold short of the runway as a B-2 Spirit, assigned to the 13th Bomb Squadron from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. takes off during Red Flag 14-1, Feb. 6, 2014, at Nellis AFB, Nev. Red Flag flight missions are hosted on the Nevada Test and Training Range; 2.9 million acres of land with 1,900 possible targets, realistic threat systems and an opposing enemy force.

 

A1C Colby Alexander, 57th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Viper Aircraft Maintenance Unit avionics apprentice, reviews technical data on a 64th Aggressor Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon prior to a Red Flag 14-1 training mission Feb. 6, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Tactics the 64th AGRS use during Red Flag are designed to train pilots for a higher survivability rate within their first 10 sorties in combat situations.

 

SSgt. Bradley Schuster, 57th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Viper Aircraft Maintenance Unit dedicated crew chief, assists Maj. Ryan Howland, 64th Aggressor Squadron F-16 pilot, into the cockpit prior to a Red Flag 14-1 training mission Feb. 6, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Red Flag provides Airmen an opportunity to experience contested, degraded and operationally limited combat situations in a controlled environment to increase their ability to complete missions and safely return home.

 

A1C Jonathon Sitsis, 57th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Viper Aircraft Maintenance Unit dedicated crew chief, and Maj. Scott Jewell, 64th Aggressor Squadron pilot, perform a pre-flight inspection on the F-16 Fighting Falcon during Red Flag 14-1 Feb. 6, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. During Red Flag, the 64th AGRS replicate threats joint and allied combat air forces might face anywhere in the world.

 

An F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 64th Aggressor Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., takes off during Red Flag 14-1 at Nellis AFB Jan 28, 2014. The mission of the 414th Combat Training Squadron, the unit that plans and executes Red Flag, is to maximize the combat readiness and survivability of participants by providing a realistic training environment. There are approximately 125 aircraft participating in Red Flag 14-1.

 

Capt. Alex Winn, 64th Aggressor Squadron F-16 pilot, prepares to start his aircraft engine prior to a Red Flag 14-1 training mission Feb. 6, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Red Flag provides Airmen from U.S. and allied countries an opportunity to experience realistic combat scenarios to prepare and train for possible future conflicts or war.

 

TSgt. Brian Savoy, 57th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Viper Aircraft Maintenance Unit dedicated crew chief, prepares to marshal an F-16 Fighting Falcon prior to a Red Flag 14-1 training mission Feb. 6, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. The 64th AGRS plays a critical role as the opposing air force during Red Flag by providing combat air forces from around the world challenges to prepare them for future conflicts or war.




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