report by : Thierry LETELLIER
Nellis Air Force Base (AFB) in Nevada is the home of the US Air Force Warfare Centre(USAFWC).The first Red Flag took place at Nellis in 1975. It was realised during the Vietnam War that pilots who survived ten combat missions were significantly more likely to survive subsequent missions. The aim of the Red Flag exercise was to create a safe training environment to simulate combat missions, producing “combat” experienced pilots before going to war.
For this edition , special guest were the INDIAN Air Force and Republic of KOREA Air Force then Armée de l’ Air . They were opposed to the USN / USAF forces based in US , UK and Japan .The IAF came with 8 Sukhoi SU-30MKI ; the the RoKAF came with 6 F15K and 6 Rafales from EC7 for ” Armée de l’ Air ” .the Indians were supported by IL-78MKI ” Midas ” for Air to Air Refuelling missions and for tactical transport by IL-76.To support the Rafales came a pair of KC-135FR from Istres AB.
To respect a well established plan , Defensive Counter Air ( the REDS ) were F-16C/D Fighting Falcon, from the 64th Aggressor Squadron (AGRS), 57th Adversary Tactics Group (ATG), 57th Wing based at Nellis AFB (coded ‘WA’).F-15C/D Eagle of the 65th Aggressor Squadron (AGRS), 57th Adversary Tactics Group (ATG), 57th Wi based at Nellis AFB (coded ‘WA’) .and a little bit less known : F-15C Eagle from the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron (TES), 53rd Test and Evaluation Group (TEG), 53rd Wing jointly based at Eglin and Nellis AFB (coded ‘OT’)Blue Air – Offensive Counter Air F-15C/D Eagle from the 159th Fighter Squadron, 125th Fighter Wing of the Florida Air National Guard (ANG) based at Jacksonville ANG F-15C/D Eagle from the 58th Fighter Squadron, 133rd Fighter Wing based at Eglin AFB, Florida (coded ‘EG’).2 x Rafale B from Escadrille de Chasse (EC) 01.007 ‘Provence’ of the French Air Force .
F-15E Strike Eagle from the 17th Weapons Squadron, 57th Operations Group (OG), 57th Wing based at Nellis AFB (coded “WA” )F-15E Strike Eagle from the 492nd and 494rd Fighter Squadron, 48th Fighter Wing based at RAF Lakenheath (coded “LN”).8 x Su-30MKI ‘Flanker-H’ from the 20th Squadron ‘Lightnings’ of the Indian Air Force based at AFS Lohegao near Pune.6 x F-15K Slam Eagle from the ‘pooled’ 102ndh and 122nd Fighter Squadrons, 1st Fighter Wing of Republic of Korea Air Force based at Daegu AB, South Korea.2 x Rafale B from Escadrille de Chasse (EC) 01/007 ‘Provence’ of the French Air Force (BA 113).
Suppression of Enemy Air Defences (SEAD) :
3 x EA-6B Prowler VAQ-130 and VAQ-142 from NAS Whidbey Island, Washington.
F-16CJ/DJ Fighting Falcon from the 13th and 14th Fighter Squadron, 35th Fighter Wing from JASDF Misawa Air Base, Japan.With an unidentified rule , were also seen four FA-18E from VFA-143 from NAS OCEANA – VA.