Home Air First Red Flag of 2023 starting with some 100 aircraft in attendance

First Red Flag of 2023 starting with some 100 aircraft in attendance

Red Flag 23-1
Photo: Royal Air Force

Fighter jets from three countries have gathered in Nevada ahead of the start of this year’s first Red Flag training event.

Hosted by the US Air Force, Red Flag 23-1 will be taking place between January 23 and February 10.

Nearly 100 aircraft are scheduled to depart Nellis twice a day and could remain in the air for up to five hours during this large-scale exercise. There will also be night launches to allow for air crew training during nighttime combat operations.

During Red Flag 23-1, Nellis will welcome close to 3,000 participants from all branches of the US military service, and from the UK Royal Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force.

The UK deployed a detachment of Typhoons from RAF Lossiemouth based II (Army Co-operation) Squadron supported by Voyagers from 10 and 101 Squadron based at RAF Brize Norton, together with ground support personnel from across the RAF.

“After months of build up and preparation by the Squadrons and Air A7, Exercise Red Flag is underway. This is the most rigorous training that the Royal Air Force participates in. Everyone deployed to Nellis will learn how to do their job under the most testing conditions, in the world’s best combat training environment; this is an enormous opportunity to prepare for the most difficult operations with our US and Australian allies,” Group Captain Roger Elliott, Royal Air Force detachment commander, commented.

The Royal Australian Air Force said it deployed “up to five” EA-18G Growler aircraft from No. 6 Squadron and approximately 100 aviators in support of the exercise.

“Exercises like Red Flag Nellis are an opportunity to advance relationships and interoperability with the United States and United Kingdom,” Royal Australian Air Force Air Commodore John Haly said.

“Although Australia conducts similar training activities domestically, the scope and scale of Red Flag Nellis cannot be replicated within Australia.”

The 355th Wing from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, will take command as the lead wing over the participating aircraft, including the F-35 Lightning II, F-22 Raptor, B-52 Stratofortress, and the Australian E-7 Wedgetail.

Nellis has hosted Red Flag exercises since 1975 to provide aircrews the experience of multiple, intensive air combat sorties in the safety of a training environment.

There are three iterations of Red Flag annually: one US only, one open to FVEY (Five Eyes) participants and another that welcomes an expanded roster of international allies and partners.