RAF

RAF Jets Head To US For Exercise Red Flag

Typhoons from RAF Lossiemouth will be among UK units flying with the US and Australian aircraft in Nevada...

The Typhoon began RAF service in April 2006 and is now flying with seven squadrons and the Typhoon display team (Archive picture: MOD).

Royal Air Force personnel and aircraft are gathering in the United States for what the RAF are describing as "the most challenging warfighting exercise of the year".

Typhoon fighters from RAF Lossiemouth will be joined by Sentry early warning aircraft and Rivet Joint surveillance planes from RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire for Exercise Red Flag. 

The RAF units will train at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada alongside counterparts from the US and the Royal Australian Air Force.

Wing Commander Phil McConnel, Officer Commanding 51 Squadron, the RAF's Intelligence, Surveillance, Targeting and Reconnaissance Force (ISTAR) believes the exercise will provide a showcase for “the unique capability which 51 Squadron offers".

"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.”

Exercise Red Flag is designed to replicate the issues NATO faces in Europe and will run for three weeks.

Before the deployment to the US, UK personnel prepared for the exercise at RAF Waddington at the Air Battlespace Training Centre (ABTC), which featured a replica of the Nellis Tactics and Training Range.

Wing Commander Mark Rendall, Officer Commanding ABTC, said it provided personnel with a range of missions likely to be encountered on the exercise. He said: “The ABTC is an invaluable tool for mission crew preparation and training."

“The safe training environment allows, in this particular instance, mission crews to hit Ex-Red Flag at pace.

"This will enable better learning and higher levels of enjoyment, but more importantly, it will effect better force generation outcomes.”

Exercise Red Flag begins on 28 January.