The UK Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 fighter aircraft are participating in air-to-air combat training exercise, code-named Red Flag 14-1, currently underway at Nellis Air Force Base (AFB) in Nevada, US. Involving participation from the US and allied nations’ combat air forces, the three-week exercise offers valuable training to pilots in planning and executing a wide variety of combat missions.
The UK also deployed Tornado GR-4 fighters and an E-3D Sentry airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft for the exercise, which is also joined by approximately 150 aircraft from the US, Australian, Belgian, Danish and the Royal Saudi Air Forces. Operating in the swing role, Typhoon FGR4s are conducting both air-to-air and air-ground profiles in single sorties, while the Tornado GR4s are performing low-level strike role. Eurofighter chief executive officer Alberto Gutierrez said, ”We wish the RAF great success with the exercise and we look forward to actively supporting them as we continue to work together to further grow the capabilities of what is already recognised to be a highly agile, potent and reliable aircraft.”
Other participating aircraft include US F-15, F-16, B-52H, E-3C, HH-60, EA-18G, Australian F-18s and E-7, Belgian F-16AM and C-130, Danish F-16AM and Saudi’s F-15Ss.
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. Red Flag 14-1 is scheduled to conclude on 15 February 2014.
Image: A Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon at Nellis AFB in 2013. Photo: courtesy of Jamie Hunter.