Red Flag (USAF)

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RED FLAG is an advanced aerial combat training exercise hosted at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada and Eielson Air Force Base Alaska. Since 1975, air crew from the United States Air Force (USAF) and other U.S. military branches and allies take part in the exercises, each of which is two weeks in duration. The Red Flag exercises, conducted in four-to-six cycles a year by the 414th Combat Training Squadron of the 57th Wing, are very realistic aerial war games. The mission of the 414th Combat Training Squadron (Red Flag) is to maximize the combat readiness and survivability of participants by providing a realistic training environment and a forum that encourages a free exchange of ideas. To accomplish this, combat units from the United States and its allied countries engage in realistic combat training scenarios carefully conducted within the Nellis Range Complex. The Nellis Range complex is located northwest of Las Vegas and covers an area of 60 nautical miles (111 km) by 100 nautical miles (190 km), approximately half the area of Switzerland. This space allows the exercises to be on a very large scale. The Aggressor squadrons, the opponents who flew against the pilots undergoing training, were selected from the top fighter pilots in the Air Force. These pilots were trained to fly according to the tactical doctrines of the Soviet Union and other enemies, to better simulate what NATO pilots would encounter in real combat. The Aggressors were originally equipped with readily available T-38 Talon aircraft to simulate the MiG-21. F-5 Tiger II fighters, painted in color schemes commonly found on Soviet aircraft, were added shortly thereafter and became the mainstay until the F-16 was introduced. The 64th and 65th AGRS currently use F-16 and F-15 aircraft to emulate, respectively, the MiG-29 Fulcrum and Su-30 Flanker, and continue to be painted in their camouflage schemes. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]







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