The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) personnel are preparing to participate in the multi-national advanced aerial combat training exercise, code-named Exercise Red Flag, in Nevada, US.
The aircrew from 77 Squadron began a week-long work-up training in the F/A-18 Hornet simulator at RAAF Base Williamtown in Queensland, prior to starting actual preparation for the exercise next week.
Around 250 RAAF personnel, along with an E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning & control (AEW&C) aircraft, and eight F/A-18A/B Hornet fighters will participate in the exercise, which represents the US Air Force’s (USAF) most advanced international air combat training activity.
Air Combat Group commander air commodore Tony Grady said the Red Flag exercise involves a series of air combat scenarios that test operational air and ground crews to the highest level.
Grady said, ”For members of RAAF, this is the exercise they spend their career dreaming of attending, it is incredibly challenging and they get to work with and against aircraft they normally don’t get to work with on other deployments.
”It provides the ultimate environment in which our Air Force personnel can showcase their extraordinary abilities in a deployed scenario.”
The exercise is scheduled to commence at Nellis Air Force Base (AFB) in Nevada, US, on 23 January and will conclude on 15 February 2014.
Held four times annually, Red Flag is a US Pacific Air Forces Command (PACAF)-led large force employment exercise designed to train pilots and other flight crew members from the US, Nato and other allied countries for real air combat situations.
Divided into two teams, namely Blue Forces and Red Forces, the participants perform counter air, precision strike and offensive air support in packages of up to 100 aircraft during each exercise.
Image: RAAF F/A-18 Hornets fly in a training mission during Red Flag 12-3 exercise over the Nevada Test and Training Range in US. Photo: courtesy of USAF Senior Airman Brett Clashman.