EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska – RED FLAG-Alaska 23-1, a Pacific Air Forces-sponsored exercise, begins here, October 6, 2022.
The exercise focuses on enhancing the combat readiness of U.S. and international forces by providing realistic training. RF-A 23-1 is scheduled to run from October 6-21, 2022.
“RED FLAG-Alaska was conceived as a major flying exercise designed to stress pilots with the experience of their first ten combat missions in a controlled training environment,” said Lt. Col. James Collins, 353rd Combat Training Squadron commander. “It has grown to become a joint coalition exercise which incorporates the strengths and capabilities of US airpower and those of our allies to win the high-end fight.”
Approximately 1,600 service members are expected to fly, maintain, and support more than 50 aircraft from various units during this iteration of the exercise. Most of the aircraft will be based at, and fly from, Eielson Air Force Base and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.
“This Red Flag we have PACAF F-16s from Misawa Air Base, F-15s from Kadena AB, Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130s, Royal Air Force C-130s, multiple U.S. C-17s, C-130s, KC-135s, U.S. and [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] E-3s participating in the exercise,” added Collins. “All of this in addition to our Eielson assigned 18th Aggressor Squadron F-16s.”
The Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, an air, ground and electronic combat training range covering more than 77,000 square miles, is ideal for pilots and supporting personnel to train in this kind of exercise.
“It’s a great opportunity for all the bases in the Pacific to gain experience,” said Capt. Marlon Bradley, RF-A 23-1 maintenance commander. “The theory is if pilots can get through 10 combat scenarios, the likelihood of them surviving in actual combat significantly increases.”
RF-A is the ideal exercise for international engagement that enables all involved to exchange tactics, techniques and procedures while improving interoperability.
The exercise dates back to 1975, when it was held at Clark Air Base, Philippines, and was called Exercise Cope Thunder.