2016 Red Flag Aerial Combat Tests Kicked Off at US


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