First RED FLAG-Alaska 2018 commences Published April 27, 2018 By Airman 1st Class Eric M. Fisher 354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs 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.