RED FLAG-Alaska 17-2 kicks off

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron, speeds down the runway to take off from the Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, flight line during RED FLAG-Alaska (RF-A) 17-2, June 13, 2017. RF-A provides an optimal training environment in the Indo-Asia Pacific region and focuses on improving ground, space and cyberspace combat readiness and interoperability of U.S. and international forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron, speeds down the runway to take off from the Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, flight line during RED FLAG-Alaska (RF-A) 17-2, June 13, 2017. RF-A provides an optimal training environment in the Indo-Asia Pacific region and focuses on improving ground, space and cyberspace combat readiness and interoperability of U.S. and international forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron, speeds down the runway to take off from the Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, flight line during RED FLAG-Alaska (RF-A) 17-2, June 13, 2017. RF-A provides an optimal training environment in the Indo-Asia Pacific region and focuses on improving ground, space and cyberspace combat readiness and interoperability of U.S. and international forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron, speeds down the runway to take off from the Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, flight line during RED FLAG-Alaska (RF-A) 17-2, June 13, 2017. RF-A provides an optimal training environment in the Indo-Asia Pacific region and focuses on improving ground, space and cyberspace combat readiness and interoperability of U.S. and international forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron, speeds down the runway to take off from the Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, flight line during RED FLAG-Alaska (RF-A) 17-2, June 13, 2017. RF-A provides an optimal training environment in the Indo-Asia Pacific region and focuses on improving ground, space and cyberspace combat readiness and interoperability of U.S. and international forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron, speeds down the runway to take off from the Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, flight line during RED FLAG-Alaska (RF-A) 17-2, June 13, 2017. RF-A provides an optimal training environment in the Indo-Asia Pacific region and focuses on improving ground, space and cyberspace combat readiness and interoperability of U.S. and international forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

By Airman 1st Class Isaac Johnson --

One of the Air Forces’ premier flying exercises, Red Flag-Alaska, will be taking place until June 23 at Eielson Air Force Base.

During RF-A 17-2, international partners will take part in an exercise designed to give them experience that may save their lives.

“The idea behind RF-A came from the Vietnam and Korean wars,” said Maj. Daniel Krowinski, the 353rd Combat Training Squadron director of operations. “In the Korean War, the air-to-air kill ratio was around seven-to-one, but in Vietnam it dropped and the Air Force and Department of Defense wanted to know why. As a result, they found that if a pilot survived his first 10 combat sorties they were more likely to survive the tour, and from that RF-A was born”

RF-A is a Pacific Air Forces-sponsored, Joint National Training Capability exercise designed to allow pilots to experience real-life scenarios they may encounter.

“We’re here to promote peace among our allies,” said Col. David Mineau, the 354th Fighter Wing commander. “We are here to train with a ready to fight tonight attitude.”

The exercise allows joint and coalition services to utilize the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex to better simulate real combat experiences.”

“One of the unique attributes of RF-A is the JPARC which is the largest instrumented range and air space in the DoD,” said Krowinski. “This resource isn’t really available anywhere else in the world, and what that means for the pilots is they’re able to execute their tactics with few restrictions.”

Participating units are divided into “Blue” ally forces and “Red” aggressor forces. Red air works to simulate the best “bad guys” possible.

“A big part of our mission is building partnerships, as seen with the Republic of Korean Air Force, Japan Air Self Defense Force and Thai Air Force participants in this particular exercise.” said Krowinski. “It’s a great opportunity to bring our coalition partners together and building relationships so they can be more effective in combat.”