The US Air Force (USAF), the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) are participating in a national air-to-air combat training exercise, code-named Red Flag 16-1, at the Nellis Air Force Base (AFB) in Nevada, US.
It is a 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.
The 18-day exercise will include aircraft from 24 different USAF squadrons.
Additionally, the RAAF has deployed six F/A-18F Super Hornet twin-engine carrier-based multirole fighter aircraft, six F/A-18 A/B Hornet aircraft and an AP-3C Orion equipped with features to track down and sink enemy submarines using torpedoes and Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and an E-7A Wedgetail AEW&C.
The exercise will see participation of 410 RAAF personnel.
Scheduled to conclude on 12 February, Red Flag 16-1 will involve a battle space recreation to enable the air force personnel to display their abilities in a deployed scenario. It is held four times annually.
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The exercise is part of a series of advanced training programmes administered at Nellis AFB and on the Nevada Test and Training Range by organisations assigned to the US Air Force Warfare Center.
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: Red Flag 16-1 part of a series of advanced training programmes administered at Nellis AFB. Photo: US Air Force / Senior Airman Thomas Spangler.