US, UK and Australia conclude Exercise Red Flag 19-1

19 February 2019 (Last Updated February 19th, 2019 11:25)

The airforces of the US, UK and Australia have concluded the multinational advanced aerial combat training exercise Red Flag Nellis 19-1 at Nellis Air Force Base (AFB) in Nevada, US.

US, UK and Australia conclude Exercise Red Flag 19-1
RAAF F/A-18A Hornet pilots, from Number 77 Squadron, prepare to depart Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada for an Exercise Red Flag 19-1 mission. Credit: © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence.

The airforces of the US, UK and Australia have concluded the multinational advanced aerial combat training exercise Red Flag Nellis 19-1 at Nellis Air Force Base (AFB) in Nevada, US.

Exercise Red Flag aims to prepare the US and its allies to peer-level adversaries in any combat environment. More than 2,900 personnel assigned to 39 units participated in Red Flag 19-1 along with 95 aircraft.

For the three-week intensive exercise, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) sent six F/A-18A Hornets, one E-7A Wedgetail aircraft, one AP-3C (electronic warfare) Orion aircraft, and up to 370 personnel.

The British Royal Air Force’s Intelligence, Surveillance, Targeting and Reconnaissance Force (ISTAR) deployed personnel, a Sentinel R1 from V(AC), an RC-135 Rivet Joint from 51 Squadron and Sentry AEW 1 (E-3D) from 8 Squadron.

The US Air Force’s (USAF) 79th Fighter Squadron served in an air superiority role.

During the exercise, the aircraft flew day and night missions, covering a range of conditions in the training scenarios.

“The missions were created to test our aircrew in realistic situations and challenge them in training scenarios that they don’t have access to back home.”

As part of the exercise, defence personnel established a Task Group Headquarters and a Control and Reporting Centre. Additionally, they provided support to the Combined Air Operations Centre and partnered cyber capability.

The Australian contingent received assistance from Medical, Security Forces and Number 1 Combat Communications Squadron in the form of vital support functions.

Task Group Headquarters commander group captain Hinton Tayloe said: “The training our personnel received while on Red Flag has been integral to developing their skills to operate in a hostile battlespace.

“The missions were created to test our aircrew in realistic situations and challenge them in training scenarios that they don’t have access to back home.

“It was also an important experience for our ground staff, who have had to move our personnel and aircraft to the other side of the world and maintain the aircraft in conditions we rarely see in Australia.”

Exercise Red Flag, which is overseen by the USAF 414th Combat Training Squadron, was established in 1975.