Air Force Times

Largest Red Flag exercise to date begins in Nevada

The Air Force begins its premier air-to-air combat training exercise, Red Flag 18-1, on Friday at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, according to a press release.

Red Flag, which occurs several times a year at Nellis and in Alaska, runs realistic training exercises for U.S. and allied armed forces to improve their readiness and efficiency in combat situations.

The event beginning Friday is “the largest Red Flag ever, with the largest number of participants, highlighting the balance of training efficiency with mission effectiveness,” said Col. Michael Mathes, commander of the 414th Combat Training Squadron.

The three-week exercise, which concludes Feb. 16, includes participants from the Air Force, Navy, Army and Marine Corps, as well as the Royal Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force.

Senior Airman Eric Medina, a boom operator with the 92nd Air Refueling Squadron at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., refuels an F-22 Raptor from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., during a training sortie during Red Flag 16-3, in July 2016. (Senior Airman Jake Carter/Air Force)
Senior Airman Eric Medina, a boom operator with the 92nd Air Refueling Squadron at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., refuels an F-22 Raptor from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., during a training sortie during Red Flag 16-3, in July 2016. (Senior Airman Jake Carter/Air Force)

Aircraft will be taking off from Nellis twice a day to participate in strike operation training exercises at the Nevada Test and Training Range.

“Red Flag 18-1 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.”

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