The RAAF is sending the F/A-18F Super Hornet to Exercise Red Flag for the first time, part of a deployment of 14 aircraft and 410 personnel to the US Air Force-run air combat simulation exercise.
Six 1 Squadron Super Hornets, six 75 Squadron F/A-18A ‘classic’ Hornets, an E-7A Wedgetail and an AP-3C Orion have all deployed to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada for Exercise Red Flag 16-1, which began on January 19 and runs through until February 13.
In all 410 Australian personnel are taking part in Red Flag, including an air battle management contingent from 41 Wing, in one of the RAAF’s largest overseas exercise deployments in recent memory.
Led by OC 81 Wing GPCAPT Phil Gordon, the deployment is the RAAF’s first major exercise of 2016 and will comprise an intense two-week campaign of day and night missions against real target sets and adversary representative fighters, and high-fidelity electronic and air defence systems over the Nevada Test & Training Range.
“Day and night-time missions at Red Flag will require large numbers of aircraft to work together to complete the assigned mission across a variety of roles. The threats they face range from aggressor F-15 and F-16 fighters and simulated surface to air missile engagements, through to electronic warfare and cyberspace attacks,” GPCAPT Gordon said in a statement.
“It provides the ultimate environment in which our Air Force personnel can showcase their extraordinary abilities in a deployed scenario.”