The US Air Force (USAF) has commenced an air-to-air combat training exercise, Red Flag 16-3, at Nellis Air Force Base (AFB) in Nevada, to demonstrate combat capabilities of the participating units.
The exercise is the third iteration of Red Flag this year which provides aircrews with the experience of multiple, intensive air combat sorties in the safety of a training environment.
It involves the participation of 115 aircraft from 25 Department of Defense units which will be operating at the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR).
An F-35 Lightning II multirole fighter from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, based at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, is also participating in the event that will culminate on 29 July this year.
As part of the exercise, the participating units will face 1,900 possible targets, realistic threat systems and an opposing enemy force that cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world.
Red Flag 16-3 Air Expeditionary Wing commander colonel DeAnna Burt said: “We want to force people out of their comfort zone.
“We’ll be pushing them to talk about kinetic and non-kinetic effects and how when they are synchronised to achieve tactical success.”
The Nellis AFB and the NTTR provide combat air forces the ability to train to fight together in a peacetime environment.
The fourth iteration of Red Flag, Red Flag 16-4, will be conducted between 15 and 26 August this year.
Image: An F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot from 79th Fighter Squadron during Red Flag 16-3 exercise. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photo / Tech. Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes.