Red Flag 16-2 Stresses Coalition Partnership
Red Flag is the United States Air Force’s premier training exercise conducted inside the Nevada Test and Training Range in the Nevada desert. The NTTR has the largest air and ground space anywhere in the free world to conduct military training. Covering more than 2.9 million acres of ground space and over 12,000 square miles of airspace, the NTTR has an incredibly sophisticated and realistic network of threat systems, over 1200 potential targets, and an adversary team that is unmatched anywhere on the planet.
Just 2 short weeks after Red Flag 16-1 concluded, RF 16-2, the second of 4 Red Flags scheduled for fiscal year ’16 kicked off. Some 23 units from all 4 branches of the United States, as well as the Air Forces of Italy and Turkey, converged on Nellis Air Force Base to participate in this iteration of ‘Flag’. The ‘Blue Team’ consisted of F-16C/D/CMs, F-15C/Es, EF-2000s, HH-60s, MQ-9s, E-3Gs, C-130s, KC-135s, B-1s, and B-52s. The ‘Red Team’ was primarily made up of F-16Cs, AT-38Cs, and on the final few missions, A-4 Skyhawks from Drakken International. For 2 weeks, one week shorter than 16-1, the Blue Team battled it out with the Red Team over the NTTR Northwest of Nellis AFB. Members of the media were fortunate enough to be invited to a briefing which discussed the overall scope of Red Flag exercises. There were several personnel on the interview panel to discuss what it takes to host and to participate in a Red Flag exercise. When asked about the top take away from Red Flag, Colonel Marco Bertoli, Italian AF detachment commander, hit the nail on the head. Integration is the key for success in any operation in which we work with our partners.” Red Flag exercises are designed for just that. It is the chance to integrate with coalition partners, then to take those lessons back to home units and share all that was learned.
During an interview with Air Force personnel, Col. Andrew Bernard, Red Flag 16-2 AEW Commander, said” Red Flag continues to be an instrumental tool in preparing our forces for the operations of the future, He went on to add, It provides both U.S. Forces and our allied partners a valuable opportunity to fine tune our processes in a training environment.
With 16-1 and 16-2 now in the books, the focus shifts to 16-3 and 16-4 later this summer. Red Flag 16-3 will be held July 11 to 29, and is expected to be have all U.S. participants. 2 Weeks after it’s conclusion, 16-4 will commence with more of our allied partners once again.
I’d like to thank the entire 99th Air Base Wing’s Public Affairs Office for providing an inside look into how Red Flag enhances our combat readiness.