Nevada, USA: The F-22 Raptor has gone into action in its first Red Flag exercise that began Feb. 3 here, and has begun showcasing its stealth, super cruise and other abilities. The Red Flag exercise is a much-awaited event for Western air forces, as it is considered to be the most advanced and realistic combat training exercise designed for fighter pilots.
Conducted at the Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, USA, the exercise is designed to enhance a fighter pilot's skills. The exercise also sees participation from air forces of various countries. This year, the UK's Royal Air Force (RAF) and Australia's Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) are participating in the exercise along with the United States Air Force (USAF).
The USAF has deployed 14 F-22 Raptors, which are flying with the RAF's GR-4 Tornado's, the RAAF's F-111 Aardvark along with the USAF's B-2 Spirit, F-117 Nighthawk, F-15 Eagle and the F-16 Fighting Falcon's.
USAF reports about the exercise say that the Raptors are "…experiencing tremendous success flying against the aircraft representing the enemy -- most of which are F-16s and F-15s." According to the USAF, the "…aggressor forces represent the most lethal threat friendly forces would ever face."
About the Red Flag exercise itself, the commanding officer of the F-22 squadron, Lt. Col. Dirk Smith said, "The training provided by the Red Flag adversaries is like no other on earth. Our pilots are experiencing a tremendous learning curve."
The Red Flag is an advanced, realistic combat training exercise designed for fighter pilots, conducted over the Nellis Range Complex in the US State of Nevada, which measures 60 by 100 nautical miles. Nellis is the location of the USAF's Air Warfare Center of the Air Combat Command, a major training location for both US and foreign fighter aircraft pilots.
The Red Flag exercise was established in 1975. In these exercises, the Blue Forces represent friendly forces, while Red Forces simulate the enemy. In addition to aerial combat, pilots also train in various tactics to engage ground targets such as mock airfields, convoys, and other ground defensive positions apart from other unique training opportunities. Such opportunities include electronically simulated surface-to-air missiles, anti-aircraft artillery, and communications jamming.