EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --
The first aircraft operating in support of RED FLAG-Alaska 22-1 took to the skies from the Eielson flightline early this morning.
RF-A 22-1 is a Pacific Air Forces-sponsored joint and multinational exercise designed to provide realistic training in a simulated combat environment. A series of command-directed field training exercises will provide joint offensive counter-air, interdiction, close air support, and large force employment training.
“Our primary focus is fifth-generation integration,” explained Remien. “This is the first time U.S. Marine Corps F-35s have been to an exercise like this or been to Alaska. Integration with them and our international partners—the Royal Canadian Air Force brought CF-18 Hornets and the Royal Air Force brought a C-130 Hercules—is a priority. A big part of this exercise will be coordination between ground and air forces.”
Approximately 2,220 service members from three nations are expected to fly, maintain and support more than 90 aircraft from over 25 units during this iteration of the exercise.
“Members of every branch of the U.S. Department of Defense are here playing an active role in mission accomplishment,” added Maj. Elliott Sahli, 353rd CTS assistant director of operations and RF-A 22-1 assistant team chief. “Another highlight is this is the first time we’re integrating the KC-46 Pegasus, the Department of Defense’s newest aerial refueling aircraft. They’re cementing some tactics here they have yet to test at an RF-A exercise.”
RF-A 22-1, like all RED FLAG exercises held in Alaska, is taking place in the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, an expansive military operations area comprised of over 77,000 square miles of special-use airspace, ranges, and military operations facilities.
The exercise is scheduled to continue until May 13.