Personnel and aircraft from the Royal Air Force have started to leave the UK for Exercise Red Flag in the US, say the Ministry of Defence.

With a scenario designed to replicate the issues NATO faces today in the European Theatre, and which will become increasingly complex and challenging over its three-week duration, the exercise provides an unrivalled level of training say the Ministry of Defence in a release.

“Typhoons from RAF Lossiemouth, Sentry and Rivet Joint from RAF Waddington, and personnel from units stationed across the country will train at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada alongside counterparts from across the US Armed Forces and the Royal Australian Air Force.

The RAF’s Intelligence, Surveillance, Targeting and Reconnaissance Force (ISTAR) is deploying a Sentinel R1 from V(AC), an RC-135 Rivet Joint from 51 Squadron and Sentry AEW 1 (E-3D) from 8 Squadron. Each provides a complementary capability and for the first time on exercise will operate with No. 1 Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance Wing.”

Wing Commander Phil McConnell, Officer Commanding 51 Squadron, said:

“The unique capability which 51 Squadron offers has seen us very busy of late on operations. Red Flag affords us the ability not only to participate in the best air combat exercise in the world but also to do so with other complimentary RAF ISTAR platforms in an exercise scenario representative of the issues NATO and Europe face today. It’s a great opportunity which we are very much looking forward to.”

The Red Flag exercise commences on the 28th of January.

26 COMMENTS

  1. I understand that the existing captor m is pretty useless in the face of sophisticated jamming? Time to get the Aesa version deployed ASAP.

    • The Germans seem to think its fine but they have not used their Typhooons anywhere but Germany. The RAF has been flying them over Syria and they believe that not only do they need CAPTOR E to stay relavent in contested airspace but they need the block 2 enhancement with the EW capability developed under bright adder.

      I think we can see a two fleet capability developing in British typhoon with tranche 1 CAPTOR M AMRAMM carrying Typhoons performing UK sovereign air patrols and the Tranche 2/3 aircraft upgraded to Tranche 3B standard operating CAPTOR E and Meteor but primarily used for expeditionary warfare replacing much of the Tornado GR4 capability. After 2030 the Tranche 1,s will convert across to the third and fourth F35 squadrons. This would seem a very sensible use of expensive airframes and give the UK a highly effctive expiditionary air capability when combined with 48 F35B’s. In many ways F35 and Typhoon are the perfect pairing complementing each other and covering each other’s weaknesses. If the EW capabilities of F35 and CAPTOR E block 2 are as good as is being indicated then it would be an even more potent mix putting the RAF very much in the premier league. Numbers are small however it’s better to have an efficient fleet of Gen 4.5 and 5 aircraft than a large lumbering fleet of fourth gen aircraft able to do very little. Kill ratios of 20 to 1 for the F35 over even F15 would support this and Typhoon with CAPTOR E and Meteor is likely just as effective.

  2. How many typhoons? 4? We should send some tornados and typhoons and F35s and unmanned drones and some helicopters and Mybe the commandos and Paras, obviously th special,forces are already in the country than some army tanks and then 50,000 troops, slowly build up and take America back Again.

  3. Are they likely to do any old fashioned dogfighting?
    How useful is that skill now that aircraft are hyper manoeuvrable, can fire missiles from crazy angles and from miles away? Could we ever see an airborne gunfight with multiple aircraft again or is that now the stuff of science fiction?

    • Not sure of dogfighting is practised on a RedFlag exercise. I know it is still done by parts of the USA F-15 force in the UK. Some air forces still take it seriously and practise it, and still have guns fitted!

      • ACM is done at Red Flag but it’s just 1 part of the massive air campaign that encompasses the 2 week exercise. The US also has other events that are more geared towards ACM and is practiced by units that specialize in air to air combat like the F-22s, F-15s, ect.

    • In the past the Typhoons go off with the F22’s to a separate airfield after red flag to play,they are always tight lipped about who wins though.

  4. Anyone else see the story of MPs asking why 100 per cent of our fast gets can’t be available all the time?

    It’s actually laughable, isn’t it? If anything, they should be saying ‘Please, Gav, can we have some more?’

    • I’m unsure if it would even be possible given unlimited funding to have 100% availability. Modern jets are massively complicated and there’s always going to be 1 or 2 that have problems and require deep maintenance or overhaul not to mention good old fashioned wear and tear.
      The US military has loads of money and I don’t think they get anywhere near 100% availability.

      • Yep, not only is it practically impossible it is also part of the plan! We will always have some aircraft out of action either under routine maintenance, unplanned maintenance or for various other reasons. There is not need to be even close to 100% availability unless we are in a serious war where we are having to protect ourselves from attack…

        • Exactly.

          And the fact that it was actually asked does boggle ones mind slightly.

          And sorry for the typo in the original post, should read fast jets, not fast gets!

  5. How many typhoons this time? Just 4?, we should send some tornados and F35s aswell, oh and some drones and army tanks when we’re at it to go with the commandos and Para battalions, he’ll just send our entire expeditionary force of 50,000 and half tne Royal Navy, the special forces and SF recon are already over there obviously, we can get America back by building up slowly or some if it back…

      • Voyagers too, I hope.

        I was watching a very loud Single engine Jet flying high over Yeovilton earlier, just too far away for my Eyes to make out for sure, I would like to think It was a F35B.

        • Mentioning that, does anybody know when the next batch is coming over?

          With 17 delivered, 9 currently in the UK and 3 remaining in the US, I would have thought the other airframes would be arriving soonish?

          • There Is a Chart that was posted here @ a week ago, It showed only one this year. As far as I Know, we only have 16 at present so I think the 17th might be the one.

    • I had the opportunity to visit Nellis AFB way back when the USAF Thunderbirds converted over from the T-38 to the F-16A in 1983. I believe this was their first public flight demo in the F-16. Great show. They were the only fixed wing flight display for that day.

  6. Lusty, we have 17 (F-35B) – the latest was delivered last year. 206sqn open for business in the UK at Marham in June of this year, this is detailed n the infomatic chart you can find on another website, ‘Save the Royal Navy’. This is around 5 aircraft which are carrying out that role at USMC station Beaufort in South Carolina, so expect these 5 aircraft to make the journey before then.

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