Coalition Integration: Red Flag 17-2

MIX (2)[1]

Red Flag is America’s premier training exercise for today’s warfighters. Originally developed to improve our nation’s air to air kill ratio during Vietnam, it has grown into much more than strictly air to air tactics.

Red Flag 17-2, which concluded March 10th, included allies such as Spain, Singapore, and the Netherlands. As with all Red Flags, integration is the name of the game at these exercises. The mission sets allow each nation participating to adapt to each other’s tactics, and to formulate the most effective way to eliminate the threats they face using all assets involved as a singular force. Many lessons and tactics are learned and shared between our coalition partners, and any challenges presented are addressed and overcome so that we maintain a constant state of readiness. Additionally, these exercises help us maintain our edge for any future conflicts that may arise.

EA-6 (19)[1]

EA-6 (18)[1]

This exercise also marked a last for Red Flags in general. Four Marine Corp EA-6B Prowlers from VMAQ-4, based at MCAS Cherry Point in North Carolina, participated in the exercise for the final time. One of only three Prowler squadrons left, VMAQ-4 is slated to be disbanded later this Summer, with the remain two squadrons disbanding within a few years.

F-16 RLNAF (3)[1]

With yet another Red Flag in the books, and RF 17-3 on the horizon in mid-July, today’s warfighters are more prepared than ever to overcome whatever challenges may be thrown their way.

I’d like to extend a special thank you to Senior Airman Joshua Kleinholz, for both his extreme professionalism and for all of his time spent in helping make this article possible. I’d also like to thank the entire 99th Air Base Wing’s Public Affairs Office for their hospitality and for opening their doors once again to share a glimpse of these increasingly important exercises.

Steve Lewis

Steve is a Southern California based photographer living in the Los Angeles area.

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