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Red Flag joins American, allied airpower

by 1st Lt. David Tomiyama
33rd Fighter Wing Public Affairs


2/8/2006 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. (AFPN) -- Units from across the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Australia and the United Kingdom gathered here for the second part of the Red Flag 06-1 exercise, which started Feb. 6.

More than 130 aircraft and 2,500 personnel will fight and support in a simulated air war over the Nellis Test and Training Range during day and night missions, through Feb. 18.

“Red Flag exists mostly because of the Nellis Test and Training Range -- a lot of air space out there, a lot of ground space,” said Maj. Greg Weart, Red Flag assistant director of operations. “We have the ability to put together surface-to-air threats as well as the air-to-air threat environment.”

Red Flag also provides pilots the opportunity to experience combat in a non-lethal environment, Major Weart said.

“The idea is that if you simulate the pilot’s first 10 sorties in combat, their chances of survival go up exponentially for combat operations,” Major Weart said. “There are other simulated exercises but this is the first one and continues to be the one that’s most closely focused on those first 10 combat sorties.”

For the maintainers supporting the pilots and the aircraft, Red Flag gives them the opportunity to work in simulated wartime conditions. Everything they do is mirrored to air expeditionary force standards, including the stress and strain of getting aircraft in the air and maintaining them for the next mission, said Capt. Carla Torres, officer-in-charge of Red Flag maintenance operations.

The next Red Flag is scheduled for August.



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