From the very start--and that date was Nov. 29, 1975--Red Flag has been at the forefront of the Air Force drive to dominate the enemy in air combat operations.
The first Red Flag exercise, which took place 25 years ago this month, opened the pathway to a radically new type of fighter training, one that in no small way helped forge the professional Air Force that today sets the world standard. It also changed the thinking of airmen around the world, including those in adversary air forces, and it has influenced the training of the US Army and Navy air arms.
Red Flag, which was developed to help the Air Force "train as it fights," is a simulated combat training exercise that pulls in the air forces of the United States and allies. Conducted over a huge range north of Nellis AFB, Nev., Red Flag is managed by the Air Warfare Center through the 414th Combat Training Squadron.
Most of the deployed aircraft and personnel are part of the "Blue Forces." These use a variety of tactics to attack targets such as airfields, missile sites, and tanks. The targets are defended by an enemy "Red Force," which electronically simulates anti-aircraft artillery, surface-to-air missiles, and electronic jamming equipment. In addition, Red Force "Aggressor" pilots, flying the F-16C, closely emulate known enemy tactics.
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