Tag Archives: Nellis

Wrap up for first F-35 unit deployment

The first ever deployment of a combat-size unit flying the new Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is wrapped up at Nellis Air Force Base (USA) on 18 April 2015. The 61st Fighter Squadron of Luke AFB put half of its squadron assets – 10 planes in total – into simulated war action on the ranges and in the airspace of Nevada, after the stealthy jets landed at 4 April.

How well the unit could conduct operations somewhere else was the main target of the two-week deployment, executed 240 miles (390 km) from home. The drill is an important step to Initial Operational Capability planned for the Autumn of 2016, when at least 12 F-35s, pilots and ground crew are officially ready for combat missions such as interdiction/strike, close air support (CAS) and Suppression of Enemy Air Defences (SEAD).

A 61st Fighter Squadron F-35 taxis prior to take off 15 April 2015 at Nellis AFB with the Las Vegas skyline in the background. (Image © Senior Airman Thomas Spangler / US Air Force)
A 61st Fighter Squadron F-35 taxis prior to take off 15 April 2015 at Nellis AFB with the Las Vegas skyline in the background. (Image © Senior Airman Thomas Spangler / US Air Force)

The 61st Fighter Squadron flies the F-35 since March 2014. One of its pilots made the 1,000th sortie in March 2015. Of the 20 Lightning IIs on strength, two are of the Royal Australian Air Force. F-35As of the Royal Netherlands Air Force and the Italian Air Force are expected in relatively short time. By 2024, Luke is expected to have six F-35 squadrons with 144 jets and will train pilots and maintainers from 11 countries. The base in Glendale, Arizona, is the main training hub for the future backbone of the US and many of its allied air forces.

From January 2017 the Luke’s F-35A crew are expected to be deployed in real-war situations in the new jet.

Source: US Air Force
Featured image (top): Pre-flight checks on one of 10 F-35As on the first sizable deployment of the type at Nellis AFB, Nevada (Image © Staff Sgt. Darlene Seltmann / US Air Force)

Line up of F-35s on their first sizable deployment. At Nellis AFB on 15 April 2015 (Image © Staff Sgt. Darlene Seltmann / US Air Force)
Line up of F-35s on their first sizable deployment. At Nellis AFB on 15 April 2015 (Image © Staff Sgt. Darlene Seltmann / US Air Force)
The 1,000th F-35A Lightning II training sortie on 31 March 2015 in the skies over Luke AFB, Arizona. (Image © Senior Airman Devante Williams / US Air Force)
The 1,000th F-35A Lightning II training sortie on 31 March 2015 in the skies over Luke AFB, Arizona. (Image © Senior Airman Devante Williams / US Air Force)

Norwegian Vipers in Red Flag 15-2

The Royal Norwegian Air Force has joined the large-scale air combat exercise Red Flag 15-2 in the Nevada desert this week. Ten Lockheed Martin (General Dynamics) F-16AM/BM Fighting Falcon jets and two Lockheed C-130J Hercules aircraft landed at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas.

The operations are supported by about 200 men and women of the RNoAF. By letting half of the Norwegian tactical airlift fleet participating the Norwegians are trying to boost the capabilities of its transport crews in modern scenarios. “It is the most valuable training in complex air operations,” major Rune Johansen of the Hercules 335 Squadron was quoted by the Norwegian Defence media centre.

Norway planned to participate in one of the Red Flag exercises in 2011, but that was cancelled due to the air war over Libya. With all planes on the ground in Las Vegas, it is the first time the Royal Norwegian Air Force participates since 2009. On an average day the Red Flag exercise keeps 60 aircraft airborne and engaged at the same time.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, based on source information provided by the Norwegian Ministry of Defence

↑ Check our full overview of the Royal Norwegian Air Force

RNoAF F-16s arriving at Nellis for Red Flag 15-2 (Image © Luftforsvaret / Forsvarets mediesenter)
RNoAF F-16s arriving at Nellis for Red Flag 15-2 (Image © Luftforsvaret / Forsvarets mediesenter)
RNoAF Major Egil Angell-Jacobsen clocked its 3000th F-16 flight hour while flying from Norway to Nellis. His reward was waiting for him (Image © Luftforsvaret / Forsvarets mediesenter)
RNoAF Major Egil Angell-Jacobsen clocked its 3000th F-16 flight hour while flying from Norway to Nellis. His reward was waiting for him (Image © Luftforsvaret / Forsvarets mediesenter)
Tiger Tiger in the Nevada desert (Image © Luftforsvaret / Forsvarets mediesenter)
Tiger Tiger in the Nevada desert (Image © Luftforsvaret / Forsvarets mediesenter)

Photo Essay: Red Flag 15-1 through Aussie eyes

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) participated in Exercise Red Flag 15-1 at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada from 27 January to 13 February 2015 with turboprop aircraft. It was a first for the RAAF’s Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules, two of these tactical airlifters took part, and the RAAF Lockheed AP-3C Orion maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft. Utilising the vast Nevada Test and Training Range, the Aussies flew in advanced airborne training environments to overcome simulated threats in the air and from the ground – working together with elements of the Royal Air Force and the United States armed forces.

That the 150 RAAF personnel deployed to Nellis had fun is clearly visible in the photographs we’ve got. We at Airheadsfly.com just think it is fantastic to able to share our selection of the excellent images taken by LAC Michael Green from the RAAF’s 28 Squadron of the Red Flag 15-1 ops.

Want more? ↑ See all our Red Flag features.

An US Air Force F-22A Raptor on short finals for landing at Nellis Air Force Base following a Red Flag 15-1 mission. (Image © LAC Michael Green / 28SQN AFID-CBR / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
An US Air Force F-22A Raptor on short finals for landing at Nellis Air Force Base following a Red Flag 15-1 mission. (Image © LAC Michael Green / 28SQN AFID-CBR / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
Royal Australian Air Force aircraft technicians prepare a No 37 Squadron C-130J for a Red Flag 15-1 mission (Image © LAC Michael Green / 28SQN AFID-CBR / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
Royal Australian Air Force aircraft technicians prepare a No 37 Squadron C-130J for a Red Flag 15-1 mission (Image © LAC Michael Green / 28SQN AFID-CBR / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
An USAF F-16C from the 64th Aggressor Squadron passing the Nellis flight line during Exercise Red Flag 2015-1 (Image © LAC Michael Green / 28SQN AFID-CBR / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
An USAF F-16C from the 64th Aggressor Squadron passing the Nellis flight line during Exercise Red Flag 2015-1 (Image © LAC Michael Green / 28SQN AFID-CBR / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A Royal Air Force (RAF) Eurofighter Typhoon takes off at Nellis (Image © LAC Michael Green / 28SQN AFID-CBR / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A Royal Air Force (RAF) Eurofighter Typhoon takes off at Nellis, with a USAF B-2 stealth bomber in the background (Image © LAC Michael Green / 28SQN AFID-CBR / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
Overhead Nellis a formation of four USAF F-16C Fighting Falcons (Image © LAC Michael Green / 28SQN AFID-CBR / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
Overhead Nellis a formation of four USAF F-16C Fighting Falcons (Image © LAC Michael Green / 28SQN AFID-CBR / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
An USAF F-15E Strike Eagle taxis past the RAAF No 10 Squadron AP-3C Orion taking part in Red Flag 15-1 (Image © LAC Michael Green / 28SQN AFID-CBR / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
An USAF F-15E Strike Eagle taxis past the RAAF No 10 Squadron AP-3C Orion taking part in Red Flag 15-1 (Image © LAC Michael Green / 28SQN AFID-CBR / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A Royal Air Force (RAF) Sentinel aircraft takes off during Red Flag 15-1 (Image © LAC Michael Green / 28SQN AFID-CBR / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A Royal Air Force (RAF) Sentinel aircraft takes off during Red Flag 15-1 (Image © LAC Michael Green / 28SQN AFID-CBR / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A RAAF No 37 Squadron C-130J takes off on a mission as an F-16C Fighting Falcon from the United States Air Force's 64th Aggressor Squadron taxis along the flight line at Nellis (Image © LAC Michael Green / 28SQN AFID-CBR / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A RAAF No 37 Squadron C-130J takes off on a mission as an F-16C Fighting Falcon from the United States Air Force’s 64th Aggressor Squadron taxis along the flight line at Nellis (Image © LAC Michael Green / 28SQN AFID-CBR / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A RAAF C-130J Hercules from No 37 Squadron on its landing roll at Nellis (Image © LAC Michael Green / 28SQN AFID-CBR / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A RAAF C-130J Hercules from No 37 Squadron on its landing roll at Nellis (Image © LAC Michael Green / 28SQN AFID-CBR / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
Against the skyline of Las Vegas an F-22A Raptor lands at Nellis (Image © LAC Michael Green / 28SQN AFID-CBR / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
Against the skyline of Las Vegas an F-22A Raptor lands at Nellis (Image © LAC Michael Green / 28SQN AFID-CBR / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A RAF Typhoon on the flightline of Nellis during night ops (Image © LAC Michael Green / 28SQN AFID-CBR / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A RAF Typhoon on the flightline of Nellis during night ops (Image © LAC Michael Green / 28SQN AFID-CBR / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A Charlie Viper from the USAF 64th Aggressor Squadron airborne (Image © LAC Michael Green / 28SQN AFID-CBR / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A Charlie Viper from the USAF 64th Aggressor Squadron airborne (Image © LAC Michael Green / 28SQN AFID-CBR / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
After-flight checks are performed on an RAAF C-130J Hercules. Seen behind it is a USAF HC-130J (Image © LAC Michael Green / 28SQN AFID-CBR / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
After-flight checks are performed on an RAAF C-130J Hercules. Seen behind it is a USAF HC-130J (Image © LAC Michael Green / 28SQN AFID-CBR / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)

Australian Props in Red Flag combat

For the first time ever the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) participates in the multi-national, US hosted large-scale combat exercise Red Flag with its Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules and a Lockheed AP-3C Orion.

Having committed its fighter jets before the RAAF is keen on exposing its large propeller plane crews to a modern war scenario. “There are few training environments in the world that recreate the dangers of a modern battlespace like Exercise Red Flag,” RAAF’s Air Vice-Marshal Gavin Turnbull says in an Australian Defence Force’s press release.

Two C-130J Hercules from RAAF Base Richmond (NSW), an AP-3C Orion from RAAF Base Edinburgh (SA) and an Air Battle Management contingent from 41 Wing are participating in the Red Flag 2015-1, alongside combat aircraft from the United States and the United Kingdom. As many of our readers know, base of operations is Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas.

A F-15C Eagle (background) from the United States Air Force 65th Aggressor Squadron taxies past a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion from No. 10 Squadron (foreground) on the flightline at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, USA (Image ©  Mr Eamon Hamilton  / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A F-15C Eagle (background) from the United States Air Force 65th Aggressor Squadron taxies past a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion from No. 10 Squadron (foreground) on the flightline at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, USA (Image © Eamon Hamilton / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)

“Day-time and night-time missions at Red Flag will require large numbers of aircraft to work together across a variety of roles to defeat threats. The dangers they face range from aggressor F-15 and F-16 fighters and simulated missile shots, through to electronic warfare and cyberspace attacks,” Vice-Marshal Turnbull adds.

While the Hercules’s will train in tactical airlift flying in a war zone, the AP-3C Orion crew will focus on overland surveillance of the combat area. The Nevada desert ranges are even somewhat similar to the current environment the RAAF is facing in real-life over the Middle East fighting ISIS in Iraq. Moreover, the RAAF crews deployed to Nellis bring along experience from Operation Slipper over Afghanistan.

Exercise Red Flag 15-1 continues until 13 February 2015, with 150 RAAF personnel participating.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, based on source information provided by Australia, Department of Defence
Featured image (top): A RAAF C-130J Hercules at Nellis during Exercise Red Flag 15-1 (Image © Eamon Hamilton / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)

Related: ↑ Photo Essay: RAAF wages war against ISIS
AND ↑ Photo Special: RAAF Hornets during Red Flag 14-1

A Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules from No. 37 Squadron taxies back to its parking position on the flightline at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, following a mission during Exercise Red Flag 15-1 (Image ©  Mr Eamon Hamilton  / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules from No. 37 Squadron taxies back to its parking position on the flightline at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, following a mission during Exercise Red Flag 15-1 (Image © Eamon Hamilton / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules from No. 37 Squadron conducts an 'initial and pitch' bank over Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, following a mission during Exercise Red Flag 15-1 (Image ©  Mr Eamon Hamilton  / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules from No. 37 Squadron conducts an ‘initial and pitch’ bank over Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, following a mission during Exercise Red Flag 15-1 (Image © Eamon Hamilton / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)

First F-35 joins US Air Force Weapons School

The US Air Force Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas took delivery of its first Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II on Thursday 15 January. The aircraft arrived straight from the Lockheed Martin production facility in Fort Worth, Texas.

The goal is to develop a n F-35 combat training syllabus for US Air Force Weapons School students. The school, part of Nellis’ 57th Fighter Wing, is doing so in cooperation with the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center and 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron. The latter already operates a number of F-35s from Nellis. The weapons school’s F-35s will initially operate under the umbrella of the 16th Weapons Squadron, the school’s F-16 squadron.

It’ll be a while before the actual student course on the F-35A starts, as the target is set for  January 2018.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest

On the ramp at Nells. (Image © US Air Force)
On the ramp at Nells. (Image © US Air Force)