The US and its allied air forces have started the multi-national air-to-air combat training exercise, code-named Red Flag 15-1, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, US.
Hosted north of Las Vegas on the Nevada Test and Training Range, the three-week exercise involves participation from the air, space, and cyber forces of the US and its allies, as well as more than 125 aircraft.
Apart from fighter jets, bombers, reconnaissance aircraft, air-refuelling tankers and air traffic control aircraft from 21 US Air Force and Marine Corps squadrons, Red Flag 15-1 also features aircraft from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and the UK Royal Air Force (RAF).
With 1,900 possible targets, realistic threat systems and an opposing enemy force, the drill aims to provide participants with valuable training in planning and executing a wide-variety of combat missions.
RAF Red Flag commander group captain Mark Chappell said: "This is the culmination of months of hard work and preparation for the squadrons and for many, this will be their first taste of what real world operations will be like.
"Typhoon will be operating in a multi-role capacity and this will be the first operational test of its P1Eb upgrade.
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"It’s also the first time Sentinel has participated in Red Flag and in addition we have a team from 1 Air Control Centre who will provide essential tactical command and control for the whole exercise, supported by experts from the space and cyber domains."
Exercise Red Flag Australian C-130J Hercules Detachment commander wing commander Darren Goldie said: "For air mobility crews, this is one of the best exercises to train and test ourselves against the pressures witnessed on real-world operations.
"At Exercise Red Flag, we’ll be flying on flying tactical air mobility missions into a hotly contested airspace.
"This demands cooperation between crew members, and cooperation with ‘friendly’ aircraft, to achieve the mission and get home unscathed."
Red Flag 15-1 is scheduled to conclude on 13 February.
Red Flag is held four times annually. It is a US Pacific Air Forces Command-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: A RAF Typhoon FGR4 aircraft taxiis out at Nellis air force base, Nevada, US. Photo: courtesy of RAF / MOD Crown Copyright 2015.