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.
The signal intelligence capability of the United Kingdom got a boost on Tuesday 12 November 2013 with the arrival of the first of three Boeing RC-135V/W Rivet Joint aircraft.
The large, four engine replacement for the decommissioned Nimrod R1 landed at RAF Waddington (RAF Photo) and is officially part of the so-called project Airseeker to increase the UK’s intelligence, surveillance and analysis for its armed forces. It is not meant for the lately much discussed UK data and phone espionage of civilians worldwide.
The Rivet Joint flies with Royal Air Force’s 51 Squadron. UK crews have already been training in the US on the aircraft since 2011, alongside US Air Force personnel of the 55th Reconnaissance Wing who operate the aircraft for decades now. Although accumulating 32,000 flying hours and 1800 sorties already, the RAF will not put the aircraft immediately into action. That is planned for 2014.
British and US RC-135V/Ws will be different somehow in their mission systems, since the aircraft are being reconfigured a bit according to UK specifications. Flight trials are being made in Greenville, Texas. All three Rivet Joints should be operational by 2017.
Source: UK MoD with additional reporting by AIRheads’ Marcel Burger