A USAF F-15E Strike Eagle pilot from the 336th Fighter Squadron from Seymour Johnson AFB goes through post-flight checks during Red Flag 14-2 3 March 2014 (Image © Airman 1st Class Thomas Spangler / USAF)

Ssshhh … there was a Red Flag 14-02

A USAF F-15E Strike Eagle pilot from the 336th Fighter Squadron from Seymour Johnson AFB goes through post-flight checks during Red Flag 14-2 3 March 2014 (Image © Airman 1st Class Thomas Spangler / USAF)
A USAF F-15E Strike Eagle pilot from the 336th Fighter Squadron from Seymour Johnson AFB goes through post-flight checks during Red Flag 14-2 3 March 2014 (Image © Airman 1st Class Thomas Spangler / USAF)

With the international community focusing on both the Russian-Ukrainian stand-off and the missing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, one almost forgets loads of other things happen in the world of aviation. Take the famous Red Flag exercises in the Nevada dessert. At AIRheads↑Fly we published a much viewed feature on edition 14-01, but the second Red Flag of the year went by largely unnoticed. Until now 🙂

Even the media units of the Belgian and Danish ministries of Defence hardly paid any attention to their men and women being deployed to literately the Vegas of aerial combat. Maybe they took the nickname of the host city a bit to seriously: What happens there, stays there. Only when Belgian Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Aviator Gerard Van Caelenberge visited the operations at Nellis AFB, a little bit of news coverage followed but without any Belgian F-16s to show. From the Danish side, it was as quiet as it normally is from the Saudis who were also there this time.

Good that the US Air Force press service and their photographers did notice they had Europeans flying combat sorties in American designed aircraft over the Nevada ranges. We selected the highlights – including footage released by the Belgian Defence of the their C-JCS visit. The Belgian Air Component F-16s and stunningly painted C-130H were caught by Dave Budd from from fellow online aviation magazine Photorecon.net. Steve Lewis followed with an astonishing photo series as well!

© 2014 AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger

Royal Danish Air Force Lance Cpl. Robert Nielsen, crew chief of RDAF's Esk 730 marshals in a Skrydstrup F-16 Fighting Falcon upon arrival on Nellis AFB, 26 February 2014 (Image © Senior Airman Matthew Lancaster / USAF)
Royal Danish Air Force Lance Cpl. Robert Nielsen, crew chief of RDAF’s Esk 730 marshals in a Skrydstrup F-16 Fighting Falcon upon arrival on Nellis AFB, 26 February 2014 (Image © Senior Airman Matthew Lancaster / USAF)
RDAF Esk 727 and Esk 730 F-16s on the flightline of Nellis AFB on 26 February 2014 ahead of Red Flag 14-2 (Image © Senior Airman Matthew Lancaster / USAF)
RDAF Esk 727 and Esk 730 F-16s on the flight line of Nellis AFB on 26 February 2014 ahead of Red Flag 14-2
(Image © Senior Airman Matthew Lancaster / USAF)
A NATO E-3A Sentry AWACS takes off at Nellis AFB during Red Flag 14-2 (Image © Airman 1st Class Thomas Spangler / USAF)
A NATO E-3A Sentry AWACS takes off at Nellis AFB during Red Flag 14-2
(Image © Airman 1st Class Thomas Spangler / USAF)
A B-52 from the 96th Bomb Squadron takes off during Red Flag 14-2 on 4 March 2014  at Nellis AFB (Image © Airman 1st Class Thomas Spangler / USAF)
A B-52 from the 96th Bomb Squadron takes off during Red Flag 14-2 on 4 March 2014 at Nellis AFB
(Image © Airman 1st Class Thomas Spangler / USAF)

Participants of Red Flag 14-02 (Source: USAF)
Combat & Strike

  • USAF F-15C Eagles from the 123rd Fighter Squadron, Portland ANG Base, Oregon
  • USAF F-15C Eagles from the 40th Flight Test Squadron, Eglin AFB, Florida
  • Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) F-15S Strike Eagles, from either Dhahran or/and Khamis Mushayt (King Khalid Air Base) Airbases
  • USAF F-15E Strike Eagles from the 336th Fighter Squadron, Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina
  • USAF F-16CM Fighting Falcons from the 4th Fighter Squadron, Hill AFB, Utah
  • USAF F-16CJ Fighting Falcons (SEAD variant), 77th Fighter Squadron, Shaw AFB, South Carolina
  • Belgian Air Component F-16AM Fighting Falcons, 2 Tactical Wing, Florennes Airbase, Belgium
  • Belgian Air Component F-16AM Fighting Falcons, 10 Tactical Wing, Kleine Brogel Airbase, Belgium
  • Royal Danish Air Force F-16AM Fighting Falcons, Esk 727/Esk 730, Skrydstrup Airbase, Denmark
  • USAF B-52H Stratofortresses from the 96th Bomb Squadron, Barksdale AFB, Louisiana

Electronic Warfare & Control

  • USAF E-3C Sentry, 965th Airborne Air Control Squadron, Tinker AFB, Oklahoma
  • USN EA-18G Growlers, Electronic Attack Squadron 141 (CAW 5), Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan
  • NATO E-3A Sentries, NATO AWACS Unit, Geilenkirchen Airbase, Germany

(Combat) Search-and-Rescue

  • HH-60 Pave Hawks, 66th Rescue Squadron, Nellis AFB, Nevada
  • HC-130J Combat King IIs, 79th Rescue Squadron, Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona

Opposing Forces (OPFOR)

  • USAF F-16C Fighting Falcons, 64th Agressor Squadron, Nellis AFB, Nevada
  • USAF F-16C Fighting Falcons, 65th Agressor Squadron, Nellis AFB, Nevada
  • USAF F-15C Eagle, 65th Agressor Squadron, Nellis AFB, Nevada

Tactical airlift

  • Belgian Air Component C-130H Hercules, 15 Wing Air Transport, Brussels/Melsbroek Airbase, Belgium
Belgian C-JCS Gen. Aviator Gerard Van Caelenberge arriving on 10 March 2014 on the Belgian Air Component (BAC) Dassault Falcon 900B. Notice the BAC Airbus A330-300 in the background. (Image © Defensie / Belgian Ministry of Defence)
Belgian C-JCS Gen. Aviator Gerard Van Caelenberge arriving on 10 March 2014 on the Belgian Air Component (BAC) Dassault Falcon 900B. Notice the BAC Airbus A330-300 in the background.
(Image © Defensie / Belgian Ministry of Defence)
Belgian C-JCS Gen. Aviator Gerard Van Caelenberge went for a ride in the backseat of this USAF 65th Agressor Squadron F-15C Eagle. Taken on 10 or 11 March 2014. (Image © Defensie / Belgian Ministry of Defence)
Belgian C-JCS Gen. Aviator Gerard Van Caelenberge went for a ride in the backseat of this USAF 65th Agressor Squadron F-15D Eagle. Taken on 10 or 11 March 2014.
(Image © Defensie / Belgian Ministry of Defence)