A large RAF detachment of over 300 personnel have arrived in the United States to take part in Exercise Red Flag, a major exercise that will test the detachment in complex combat Air Operations.
The deploying RAF detachment is formed from Typhoons from RAF Lossiemouth based II (Army Co-operation) Squadron supported by Voyagers from 10 and 101 Squadron based at RAF Brize Norton, together with ground support personnel from across the RAF.
For this iteration of the exercise, the RAF Typhoons will join with combat aircraft from the United States Air Force (USAF), The United States Navy, the United States Marine Corps and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). During the exercise, the aircraft will face simulated ground-based air defence systems, aggressor aircraft that will simulate a peer adversary and cyber and space-based threats as combat missions are planned conducted and debriefed.
After months of build up and preparation by the Squadrons and Air A7, Exercise Red Flag is underway. This is the most rigorous training that the Royal Air Force participates in. Everyone deployed to Nellis will learn how to do their job under the most testing conditions, in the world’s best combat training environment; this is an enormous opportunity to prepare for the most difficult operations with our US and Australian allies.
Group Captain Roger Elliott
RAF Detachment Commander
Exercise Red Flag has been a regular fixture on the RAF Exercise programme since the late 1970's and this exercise will be based at the United States Air Force’s Nellis Air Base in Nevada. The objective of the exercise for participants is to develop capabilities in a high-threat and contested environment against a near-peer adversary.
The exercise lasting until mid-February will see the RAF aircraft integrating with the United States and Royal Australian Air Force aircraft as the operations become more complex. The exercise therefore allows common procedures to be developed tested and practised together thereby allowing future air operations to be conducted together in a collation more effectively.
The exercise follows on from the recent annual US Weapons and Tactics Conference (WEPTAC) that was this year held at Nellis Air Force Base and was attended by Air Marshal Harvey Smyth. AM Smyth is Deputy Commander Operations and as such is the senior Royal Air Force warfighter responsible for the conduct of air operations at home and overseas.
The purpose of WEPTAC is to bring together senior officers from the USAF and allied combat air forces to join Mission Focused and Functional Working Groups that examine various issues. The findings are then briefed to the Air Force senior leaders who attend who then discuss potential Tactical Improvement Procedures.