HomeNewsArticle Display

Red Flag adjusts for today’s challenges

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Alyssa Rodriguez, 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 79th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, gathers safety pins from an F-16CM Fighting Falcon during Exercise Red Flag 19-1 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Jan. 28, 2019. The goal of Red Flag is to prepare Air Force, Joint, and Coalition pilots, aircrews and operators to fight against peer-level adversaries in any combat environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado)

Airman 1st Class Alyssa Rodriguez, 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 79th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, gathers safety pins from an F-16CM Fighting Falcon during Exercise Red Flag 19-1 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Jan. 28, 2019. The goal of Red Flag is to prepare Air Force, joint, and coalition pilots, aircrews and operators to fight against peer-level adversaries in any combat environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 79th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, perform a foreign object and debris (FOD) walk during Exercise Red Flag 19-1 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Jan. 28, 2019. FOD walks help clear the runway of any objects that may cause harm to pilots and aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado)

Airmen assigned to the 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 79th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, perform a foreign object and debris walk during Exercise Red Flag 19-1 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Jan. 28, 2019. FOD walks help clear the runway of any objects that may cause harm to pilots and aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado)

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. (AFNS) -- The 414th Combat Training Squadron, which oversees Red Flag, is making changes to the exercise for improved efficiency at Nellis Air Force Base.

Red Flag is a realistic multi-domain training exercise that maximizes the combat readiness and survivability of participants by providing a robust, accurate training environment.

“We see units arrive at Nellis at varying levels of being prepared,” said Col. Michael Mathes, 414 CTS commander. “By the end of three weeks, units are not just capable of executing their wartime mission with confidence. They are ready for combat.”

While early Red Flag exercises focused on survivability of combat pilots, Red Flag now integrates the five core functions of the Air Force: intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, command and control, air superiority, strike and personnel recovery to ensure Airmen are ready for today’s fight.

“The value of integration exercises like Red Flag is in the building block approach,” Mathes said. “It starts with unit-level preparation, making sure that unit can function as a team. It moves to package integration, which is making sure that functional teams, like strike fighters and bombers – can work together. Then we get to Red Flag where multi-package integration comes into play, learning how to integrate different packages –superiority, strike and mobility aircraft -- into one mission to achieve the same goal.”

According to Mathes, Red Flag exercises enable the Air Force to more quickly harness readiness through exposure to professional adversaries, also known as the red force; working with coalition and joint partners and integration with the personnel recovery mission in a singular environment and scenario.

Looking to the future, we can expect Red Flag to continue to evolve to meet today’s challenges.

“We’re continuing to improve threat replication, how we focus on the supported commands and implementing improvements to our debrief process to make the training more effective and efficient,” Mathes said.

Expanding on the latter, Mathes explained the importance of debriefs – the process of examining a completed mission to assess what went well and what could be improved – and why they are critical to the training.

“We are leveraging new technology to validate mission effects and compile data so we can quickly give facts to the mission commander, tactical mentors and air expeditionary wing leadership,” said Mathes. “This facilitates a more efficient and effective process of providing information for the human-to-human debrief, where the learning really happens.”

Additionally, Mathes envisions further improvements for the exercise, especially with international partners.

Roughly 2,900 personnel assigned to 39 units are participating in Red Flag 19-1. Ninety-five aircraft from the U.S. Air Force, Royal Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force are scheduled to complete 26 missions over a three-week period.

Mathes said the partnership with U.S. allies and other nations will become the most important part of the exercise because a strong coalition will be critical to the success of future conflicts.

Although the aircraft in the sky are visible reminders of air power, Mathes said none of it is possible without the tireless work behind the scenes that make Red Flag and the Air Force a success.

“It’s important to give thanks to the Airmen and joint participants and not just to the operations personnel, but also the maintenance and support,” Mathes said. “The real facilitator (for Red Flag) is the human element that chooses to sacrifice their time and energy to come together for unity of purpose. Airmen make airpower.”

Engage

Facebook Twitter
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: It’s a great day to be an Airman. Today Barbara Barrett officially became our 25th @SecAFOfficial. The men and women…
RT @DeptofDefense: Fill em up! ⛽ KC-135 Stratotankers from @RAFMildenhall refueled over 80 F-15s in a two-day exercise, offloading 480,000…
RT @SecAFOfficial: Today I officially became the 25th Secretary of the #AirForce. I'm conscious of the extraordinary privilege of working w…
RT @HQUSAFEPA: #BomberTaskForceEurope 20-1 is in full swing and B-52s from @TeamBarksdale are operating out of RAF Fairford to improve bomb…
RT @EsperDoD: During #CyberSecurityAwarenessMonth, I challenge all @DeptofDefense employees to stay committed, ensuring they are following…
RT @AirNatlGuard: Special Delivery! ✈️📦 The @109thAW teamed up with the @RCAF_ARC for Operation Boxtop, an annual resupply mission to suppo…
We strive to increase our Airmen's lethality and capabilities. Learn about firefighters leading the cost-effective… https://t.co/Nrgx3BSrtl
RT @EsperDoD: Congratulations to Barbara Barrett for her overwhelming bipartisan confirmation by @SenateGOP & @SenateDems to be the 25th Se…
Gen. Stephen Wilson visited Houston to help #SpaceCity celebrate #AstronautWeek. He visited @spacecenterhouston and… https://t.co/Nymvd98qvQ
Our Airmen continuously work to strengthen our alliances. Learn more about how EOD partnered with Niger Armed Force… https://t.co/VwRIOnBokn
Stay tuned for an upcoming episode of #HoustonWeHavePodcast by @NASA_Johnson where Gen Wilson joins Air Force Colon… https://t.co/Y7u9cHFtOt
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: This is an exciting day for our Air Force. Secretary Barrett brings an incredible background and a level of strategic…
The Senate has confirmed the 25th Secretary of the Air Force, Barbara Barrett. https://t.co/Y6kDGD5eds
RT @DoDHealth: #DYK? Many @TRICARE beneficiaries may qualify to purchase vision insurance through the Federal Employees Dental and Vision I…
Hello #Chicago! SrA Genesis Martinez Arteaga grew up in Chicago and has great things to say about the city, click… https://t.co/o8gFv5YYhp
RT @cmsaf18: It's a great day for our teammates in every corner of the DoD! Our brothers and sisters in service are in the best hands possi…
RT @DVIDSHub: This is what it’s like to be a piece of #military cargo being dropped from an aircraft. Try not to get dizzy! … https://t.co…
RT @AF_Football: The C-17 is the newest member of the Air Power Legacy and honors the nine Air Force bases home to the aircraft with tail f…
RT @HQ_AFMC: The @usairforce Life Cycle Management Center will hold a #PitchDay Nov 13-14 in Dayton, OH focused on awarding on-the-spot, Ph…
RT @HQ_AFMC: The newest @usairforce software development lab is coming to downtown Macon, Georgia. "We want to expose the work that we’re d…