2016 Red Flag Aerial Combat Tests Kicked Off at US

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The joint Red Flag Aerial combat tests between US, NATO and allied forces and India Air Force (IAF) decided in Alaska, US. The four-week long aerial combat exercises were held at the Nellis Air Force Base, Alaska. After 2008 this was the second time India had participated in such an exercise.

Key facts

  • The exercises also borne the sub-zero temperatures, which sat a challenge to the keep team to maintain 100 per cent serviceability of all platforms.
  • The exercises was directed multiple simulated situation to provide faithful settings with a Red Force, protective their airspace and assets and a Blue Force acting as offensive side.
  • The main objective of IAF’s contribution in this inter-continental exercise was to cabinet its capability in undertaking integrated air operations and advance also working lessons.
  • Red Force was established by US F-16 fighters, while the IAF planes with other USAF aircraft viz. F-15, F-16 and F-22 and US Navy F-18, constituted the Blue Force.
  • IAF flew 10 airplanes like 4 Su-30MKIs, 4 Jaguars and 2 IL-78 aerial resupplying tankers and a team of over 170 personnel was part of the exercise.

About Red Flag Air Exercises

  • The Red Flag exercise is progressive aerial combat training exercises, held infrequently at the Nellis Air Force Base since 1975.
  • The real fight circumstances include the use of live bullets for bombing exercises and rival hardware within the Nellis compound.
  • The exercises provide an occasion to pilots from the US, NATO and other associated countries to practice and refine their skills for real fight situations.
  • The mission of the Red Flag is to maximize the fight readiness and survivability of members by providing a truthful training environment and a pre-flight and post-flight training forum that encourages a free exchange of ideas.

India’s Involvement:

  • IAF takes part in the exercises once in every five year due to high cost of participation.
  • In 2008, IAF had participated for the first time and for second time it was planned in 2013 but the plan was cancelled by the US following budget cuts.

- Published/Last Modified on: May 16, 2016