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First RED FLAG-Alaska 2018 commences

First RED FLAG-Alaska 2018 commences

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron aircraft out of Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, takes off from the Eielson Air Force Base flight line April 25, 2018. The 36th FS is one of more than a dozen units participating in RED FLAG-Alaska 18-1. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Eric M. Fisher)

First RED FLAG-Alaska 2018 commences

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron out of Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, taxis on the flight line April 25, 2018. Eielson AFB and the 18th AGRS host dozens of units annually for acts as an opposition force during RED FLAG-Alaska allowing participating squadrons to train more effectively. (U.S. Air Force photo Airman 1st Class Eric M. Fisher)

First RED FLAG-Alaska 2018 commences

Five U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons, assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron aircraft out of Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, await take off from the Eielson Air Force Base flight line April 25, 2018. The 36th FS will participate in RED FLAG-Alaska 18-1, an exercise which provides opportunities for units to integrate with joint, coalition and multilateral training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Eric M. Fisher)

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --

Today marks the official start of the 2018 season of RED FLAG-Alaska. The exercise serves as an ideal platform for international engagement and has a long history of including allies and partners, ultimately enabling all involved to exchange tactics, techniques and procedures while improving interoperability.

RF-A 18-1 will continue through May 11, where airmen from the U.S. Navy and Air Force are expected to fly, maintain and support more than 60 aircraft from more than a dozen units. RF-A also provides training for deployed maintenance and support personnel in sustainment of large-force deployed air operations.

 

“This exercise also allows us to reinforce our long standing alliance with NATO partners whose AWACS [Airborne early warning and control system] multinational flight crew adds a lot of diversity to the exercise. The diversity and interaction between the NATO and U.S. AWACS provides valuable cross-talk between our teams,” said Lt. Col. Travis Ruhl, the 353rd Combat Training Squadron commander. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for international partners to practice interoperability with U.S. Forces.”

The participating units will train in the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, which provides more than 67,000 square miles of air space, three bombing ranges containing 510 different types of targets and 45 threat simulators which makes it the world’s largest instrumented air, ground and electronic combat training.

This is the first of four scheduled Red Flag exercises that will occur throughout 2018.