Red Flag 18-2 Review


The second of three scheduled Red Flag exercises for fiscal year ’18, (RF 18-2) concluded on March 23, 2018. Red Flag is the United State’s premier air combat exercise and is coordinated at Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas, Nevada, with the majority of the training taking place over the 15,000 square mile Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR).


This exercise was developed in 1975 with the idea of giving aircrews their first ten combat missions to gain the valuable experience, without the inherent risk of actual combat. This way when aircrews went into actual combat, they already had at least ten missions under their belt and their survivability was greatly increased. All spectrums of warfare (air, ground, command, control, electronic warfare, intelligence, cyber, and space) are utilized during this exercise. During a typical Red Flag, aircrews will utilize the capabilities of their aircraft to execute a variety of missions such as close air support, air interdiction, dynamic targeting, defensive counter air, and combat search and rescue. Integrating with the all forces participating, they will eliminate or defend targets such as vehicle convoys, tanks, mock airfields, bunkered defensive positions, parked aircraft, and very sophisticated surface to air missile sites. The opposing enemy forces, both in the air and on the ground, cannot be replicated anywhere else on the globe.


Unlike the first exercise this year, in this iteration of ‘Flag’ only United States assets participated. Stay tuned for coverage from Red Flag 18-3 which takes place from July 13th to August 3rd.
More information can be found about Red Flag can be found on the Nellis Air Force Base website.

I’d like to thank the entire 99th Air Base Wing’s Public Affairs Office for their continued dedication to telling the Warfighter’s story, and for providing the access to us at Photorecon to be able to help do the same.

Steve Lewis

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

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