6 Squadron Typhoons, from RAF Lossiemouth, are taking part in the world’s largest and most complex air combat exercise at Nellis Air Force Base in the United States.
Red Flag is a three-week exercise that pits friendly ‘Blue’ forces – including the 6 Squadron Typhoons – against hostile ‘Red Force’ aggressors in live and synthetic training environments, simulating air-to-air and air-to-ground combat, and space and cyber warfare.
The training mirrors the threats and complex air defences posed by real-life adversaries, helps participating nations better understand each other’s capabilities and ensures that RAF personnel maintain the highest levels of readiness for potential future military operations.
The live element takes place over the US Air Force’s premier military training area in Nevada; over 15,000 square miles of airspace and 2.9 million acres of land – an impossible scale to achieve in Europe.
The exercise also sees the Typhoons fly alongside US Air Force F-22 Raptors and F-35A Lightnings. This continues the evolving integration of RAF operations with 5th Generation aircraft ahead of the introduction of the F-35B into the RAF’s combat air inventory in 2018.
Wing Commander Billy Cooper, Officer Commanding 6 Squadron, said: “We’ve brought eight Typhoons with us from RAF Lossiemouth to take part in Red Flag alongside the United States Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force.
“While our day job at Lossiemouth is protecting UK airspace through Quick Reaction Alert, here in Nevada the majority of what we’re doing is air-to-air fighting and some strike missions. This means we’ll be flying two waves of six aircraft every day.
“One of the benefits of this exercise is the threat replication; we can simulate fighting our way into a target area through a high-threat environment, dropping precision munitions on specific targets and then fighting our way back out again. It’s a privilege to deploy here with 6 Squadron and to represent the Royal Air Force, the UK and Scotland in particular.”
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