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.
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.
“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.
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.
The Royal Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force both join the US air forces in the first large scale Red Flag in the Nevada desert this year, held from 27 January to 14 February. Excellent work is being done by USAF staff photographers and we collected their best shots so far.
RAF Leuchars’s 6 Squadron sent its Eurofighter Typhoon FGR.4s fighters, with Panavia Tornado GR.4s strike aircraft from RAF Marham and a E-3D Sentry Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) from RAF Waddington joining in for the simulated combat. The Royal Australian Air Force sent McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A/B Hornet fighters and the Boeing E-7A Wedgetail AEW&C aircraft.
Very well known with all military aviation enthousiasts: epicentre of the operations is Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, from where the participating aircraft will use the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR). The vast operations theatre consists of 4,700 square miles (7562 km2) of land and 15,000 square miles (24,135 km2) of airspace.
The Royal Air Force opened a nice photo gallery of Red Flag 2014 but from the US Air Force staff photographers we got even more excellent hi-res material which screams to be seen! AIRheads↑Fly sends compliments to the Nellis Air Force Base Public Affairs office, and an especially warm thanks to the photographers: USAF airmen 1st class Jason Couillard, Joshua Kleinholz, Lorenz Crespo and Thomas Spangler.