Red Flag 08-2.2Photographers: Frank Grealish
/ Sonya Cooley
12th - 14th February 2008Location:
Nellis AFB (LSV / KLSV), USA - Nevada
From the 4th to 15th February 2008 the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center (USAFWC) held another edition of it's multi-annual Red Flag exercises. Red Flag is one of a series of advanced training programs administered by the USAFWC, and the exercise, which normally runs for two weeks, is designed to be a realistic combat training exercise that provide pilots with their first 10 combat missions. Analysis of past conflicts have shown that a pilot's chance of survival increases dramatically after they complete their first 10 missions.
Nellis AFB is not just about Red Flag, apart from hosting the USAFWC, it is also the homebase of the USAF Flight Demonstration Team, The Thunderbirds, as well as the 53rd Test and Evaluation Group who's inventory of aircraft ranges from the Sikorsky HH-60G CSAR helicopter up to the Northrop Grumman B-2 although not all the unit's aircraft are based at Nellis.
Red Flag exercises make extensive use of the Nellis controlled Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR). This 3.1 million acre range provides realistic threats and targets for the participants, threats include the use of Russian / Soviet era radars & SAM systems. So called "Smokey SAMs" simulate missile launches while.
The Northern and Southern Ranges provide numerous target types that allow for the use of live and inert weapon drops. Targets include airfields, trains, missile sites, truck convoys and bunker formations.
Red Flag comprises of Red and Blue forces. Red force aircraft are provided by the resident 64th Aggressor Squadron flying F-16's and the 65th Aggressor Squadron flying F-15's while the Blue force is comprised of aircraft from other US Air Force & allied air force units.
The Blue force composition varies from one Red Flag to another depending on the objectives of the exercise. The Blue force for this particular exercise, Red Flag 2008-2.2 consisted of F-22's, B-52s, F-15E's, EA-6B's, E-3's, E-8, RQ-4, U-2, RC-135 and KC-135's although the RQ-4, U-2 and RC-135 did not fly from Nellis. Flying for the first time at a Red Flag exercise were the Royal Saudi Air Force F-15S Strike Eagles's.
The first aircraft to depart for a Fed Flag mission is the Boeing E-3 AWACS, followed by the Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker tankers. After that the various fighters, electronic warfare aircraft and bombers took off.
Below you will find a selection of photos of the various aircraft flying in and out of Nellis from February 12th through to the 14th. All shots that were taken from beside the runway were taken on February 14th when the Nellis Public Affairs Office held a media day.
Not all aircraft pictured below took part in Red Flag, most of the other aircraft present were flying on test duties, whether based at Nellis (OT coded aircraft & Thunderbirds) or visitors (SJ F-15E Strike Eagles & Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornets). All aircraft below are operated by the US Air Force unless otherwise stated.
IrishAirPics would like to take this opportunity to thank all the Nellis AFB Public Affairs Office, especially Michael Estrada, the Nellis Deputy Chief of Public Affairs, for their help and assistance, thank you for having us on base.