Red Flag-Alaska strengthens coalition forces

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Justin Weaver
  • 354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Red Flag-Alaska, a multi-service, multi-platform coordinated, combat operations exercise, kicked off April 5 with the ultimate goal of improving the operational capability of participating units and fostering stronger relations between U.S. and coalition forces.

Red Flag-Alaska allows these units, whose missions may differ significantly, the opportunity to work in a training environment with units that may deploy together in the future.

"Historically [in war], we have never fought alone, and these exercises help foster good community relations with our allies," said Col. Jeffry Smith, Air Expeditionary Wing commander for Red Flag-Alaska 07-1. "Red Flag-Alaska allows us the opportunities to not only integrate our tactics and technical procedures, but also to iron out any communication or hardware differences we might face."

More than 1,300 military servicemembers from the United States, France and Australia will train together for two weeks on the Pacific Alaskan Range Complex during RF-A 07-1.

"We hope this exercise will help strengthen the relationship between France and the United States," said Lt. Col. Eric Bometon, French air force commander. "The range in Alaska is fantastic and we look to improve our air and ground crew training while we are here."

Red Flag-Alaska provides some of the finest training possible, ensuring fighter pilots and aircrews receive at least 10 sorties in a realistic simulated combat environment.

This is accomplished on the Air Force's largest range, complete with more than 29 air defense systems, unmanned (ground) threat emitters and fourth-generation Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation pods on aircraft.

"This exercise will give our pilots the experience and skills they need to be successful," said Colonel Bometon. "It is exceptional to have the different participants and aircraft all in the same place."

Participants are divided into opposing "hostile" and "friendly" forces, flying against each other in air-to-air and air-to-ground combat and combat support missions using a variety of aircraft against a realistic set of threats. Fighting against a robust air-to-air and surface-to-air threat provides a real challenge for the pilots.

Pilots face three different dynamics at Red Flag-Alaska, said Colonel Smith. They have to deal with much greater airspace, a very diverse terrain and in-climate weather.

"This exercise helps prepare us for the fight for tomorrow," said Colonel Smith. "I hope that each aviator graduating from this exercise will leave here fantastically prepared to fight." 

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