The Royal Air Force have deployed Typhoon jets, Sentinel and Rivet Joint intelligence gathering aircraft and Voyager tankers to Exercise Red Flag in the US.
In the words of the MoD, “Red Flag pits ‘Blue’ coalition forces against hostile ‘Red Force’ aggressors, mirroring real-life threats in air-to-air, air-to-ground, space and cyber warfare.”
Typhoons, from 6 Squadron, RAF Lossiemouth, are ‘operating in a swing-role capacity, fighting their way into hostile airspace, launching precision strikes on ground targets and fighting their way out again.’
Voyager is taking part while a Sentinel and Rivet Joint are gathering intelligence and other mission-critical information.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:
“The RAF is playing a major role alongside our greatest ally in the world’s leading aerial combat training exercise.
Britain’s pilots and aircrews will receive unparalleled training and an opportunity to sharpen the combat skills they are demonstrating every day in the fight against Daesh.
Training alongside our US partners and other nations shows how the UK is stepping up internationally, ensuring maximum interoperability with our allies, and in doing so helping keep Britain safer and more secure.”
Group Captain Graham Pemberton, RAF Detachment Commander for the exercise, said:
“Red Flag replicates truly challenging, high-end warfare – from realistic aerial combat to emerging cyber and space threats. It’s as close as we can get to the real thing.
Testing ourselves against highly capable enemy aggressors is hugely beneficial and improves and readies our personnel – from pilots to those in crucial support roles – for real-world operations.
It’s a privilege for us to work with our US Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force counterparts and to cement our relationships with them at an exercise of this scale.”
Wing Commander Billy Cooper of 6 Squadron said:
“We flew eight Typhoons here from RAF Lossiemouth to take part with our US and Australian counterparts. One of our UK day jobs is protecting sovereign airspace through Quick Reaction Alert, but in Nevada we’ve been air-to-air fighting and carrying out strike missions.
Red Flag’s threat replication is truly unique. We can simulate fighting our way into a target area through a high-threat environment, drop precision munitions on specific targets and then fight our way back out again.”
The exercise runs until early February.