Air Force fighter jets arrive in Alaska for Exercise Red Flag
11 July 2011
Royal Australian Air Force fighter jets and personnel today began the most advanced international air combat training activity, Exercise Red Flag.
Red Flag in Alaska is a United States Pacific Air Forces Command led large force employment exercise designed to replicate a high-end combat environment. The two-week long exercise is based at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.
Up to seven F/A-18 Hornets from RAAF Williamtown’s No 3 Squadron in NSW will participate in world-class air combat training in the skies above Alaska until 22 July.
Commanding Officer No 3 Squadron, Wing Commander Terry van Haren, said Exercise Red Flag involves a series of air combat scenarios that test operational air and ground crews to the highest level.
“Red Flag is one of the largest exercises Australia will participate in this year,” Wing Commander van Haren said.
“It provides a realistic combat environment in which our Air Force personnel can showcase their extraordinary abilities in a coalition scenario.
“Regular participation in the Red Flag exercise series is a major contributor to Australia’s high standard of air combat capability.”
Aircrew will be exposed to large force employment on a scale not possible in Australia, when they perform counter air, precision strike and offensive air support in packages of up to 100 aircraft.
“Red Flag also provides invaluable training for our logistics, support and maintenance personnel as they are able to practice deploying to another country and working together with other Air Forces,” Wing Commander van Haren said.
The coalition exercise will see participants from Australia, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and the United States working together in one of the largest activities the RAAF will be involved in this year.
Strategic air lift and logistic support will be provided by a C-130J Hercules from 37 Squadron at RAAF Richmond. This is the first time a J model has participated in the Red Flag exercise series and the aircraft will operate from Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska during the exercise.
Joint Terminal Attack Controllers will also participate in the field training exercise phase of Red Flag Alaska.
Red Flag is a large-forces exercise conducted in interior Alaska to simulate air combat. Aircrews will be operating in the 67,000 square-mile Joint Alaska Pacific Range Complex, which offers adequate space and ranges for crews to simulate full-scale aerial battles.
Australia last participated in Red Flag Alaska in 2008 and has participated in the exercise series since 1980.
Interviews can be facilitated by contacting Flight Lieutenant Skye Smith. Imagery and vision from the exercise will be available for download at http://images.defence.gov.au/fotoweb/Grid.fwx?archiveId=5003&search=11120046