A large Royal Air Force detachment of over 300 personnel, currently in the United States, has begun Exercise Red Flag, with flying missions beginning on Monday 24 January.
Typhoons, from RAF Lossiemouth based Number 1 (Fighter) Squadron and RAF Coningsby based 41 (Test and Evaluation) Squadron, together with a supporting Voyager with crews from 10 and 101 Squadrons, based at RAF Brize Norton, have begun flying. The sorties are flown over the Nevada Test and Training Range, which at over 4500 square miles is an area equivalent to half of Wales.
Exercise Red Flag is a regular event for the RAF, and for this iteration of the exercise the RAF Typhoons will join with combat and support aircraft from the United States and the Royal Australian Air Force. During the exercise the three air forces 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.
The United States Department of Defence has, for this year, prioritised the People’s Republic of China as what it calls its number one pacing challenge, and Exercise Red Flag helps US and Allied aviators to develop the right operational concepts, capabilities and plans to bolster deterrence and maintain a competitive advantage.
The training, however, also includes activity that is intended as an effective deterrence to nation-state threats emanating from Russia, Iran and North Korea, together with transnational and non-state threats from violent extremist organisations across the world.
“After weeks of preparation it is very satisfying to now be flying missions on the Exercise. Each day we are presented with increasingly demanding scenarios, but through working closely with our American and Australian allies, and developing our interoperability we are able to overcome the challenges presented to us.”
Wing Commander John Cockroft
Officer Commanding 1 (F) Squadron
Exercise Red Flag provides the Royal Air Force with unparalleled training and prepares its Aviators for operations against any adversary that may choose to confront the UK in the air, space and cyber domains. The exercise also provides an important opportunity to reaffirm the RAF’s close ties with the USAF and RAAF.
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