Exercise Report : Red Flag 19-2 - Nellis AFB, NV
Exercise RED FLAG 19-2
Dave O'Brien contributed his photo report of the second Red Flag exercise of 2019 at Nellis AFB, Nevada. All photos by author.
RED FLAG is the U.S. Air Force’s premier air combat training exercise, which brings units from all US services and allied nations to Nellis AFB near Las Vegas, Nevada, to safely train in large-scale air combat scenarios. A typical RED FLAG involves nearly every aircraft type in the U.S. inventory, from fighters and bombers such as the F-15C/D, F-15E, F-22A, F-35A, F-16C/D, A-10C, B-1B, B-2A, B-52H, electric warfare planes EC-130H and EA-18G, airlift support C-130J and C-17A, Search and Rescue assets such as the HH-60G HC-130J, refueling aircraft KC-130, KC-135, KC-10, and Command and Control platforms E-3, E-6, E-8, and E-2. The Air National Guard (ANG) and Air Force Reserves (AFRES) play a big part in RED FLAG exercises. Nellis AFB hosts a dedicated Aggressor squadron (F-16) of the 57th Adversary Tactics Group, 24th Tactical Air Support Squadron (F-16), and the mixed fleets of the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron and USAF Weapons School (A-10,F-15,F-16,F-35) and the Draken International company providing adversary training (A-4K, L-159E). RED FLAG exercises are held three times a year, usually in February, March and July.
RED FLAG 19-2 was held from March 8th to March 22nd. The participants were:
- 1 Sqn F-16E/F Desert Falcons, UAE
- 6/29 Sqn F-15SA (Saudi Advanced) Eagle, Saudi Arabia
- 16th ACCS E-8C Joint STARS, Robins AFB
- 62d FS F-35A Lightning II, Luke AFB
- 34th BS B-1B Lancer, Ellsworth AFB (Cancelled)
- 55th RQS HH-60G Pave Hawk, Davis-Monthan AFB
- 71st RQS HC-130J Combat King II, Moody AFB
- 10 Wing F-16AM/BM Fighting Falcons, Belgium
- 322 Sqn F-16AM/F-16BM Fighting Falcons, Netherlands
- 334 Sqn KDC-10A, Netherlands
- 336th FS F-15E Strike Eagle, Seymour Johnson AFB
- 428th FS F-15SG (Singapore) Eagle, Singapore
- 964th AACS E-3G Sentry, Tinker AFB
- VAQ-134 EA-18G Growler, NAS Whidbey Island
- Escuadrón de Transporte 811 KC-767 Jupiter, Colombia
- 122nd FS F-15C Eagle, LA ANG
- 194th FS F-15C Eagle, CA ANG
The Belgian Air Force deployed F-16s from 10 Wing at Kleine Brogel. The participants from the Netherlands, UAE, and Singapore used aircraft from their Training Units based in the U.S. while the Saudis participated with the recently handed over F-15SA jets that were still to be flown to Saudi Arabia.
The photos were taken from outside Nellis AFB during three days, March 11, 12, and 15. The runways are 21L/21R which takes off over the city, and 3L/3R which takes off towards the racetrack. Typically, aircraft would launch between 12pm – 2pm. When standing along the edge of Las Vegas BLVD N, which is along the Raceway, the aircraft will break over you, which they call “flexing” due to the wings of the jets flexing due to the G’s of the pull.
Recoveries can be on either runway as well, depending on wind direction. E. Cheyanne Ave is the road to be at for aircraft landing on RWY 3, just don’t stand along the side of the fence as the Air Force will ask you to cross back over. You would need a lens of 400mm or more for most of the landings for RWY 21, especially if they land on 21L that is further away.
Some of the aircraft photographed were actually participating in the GREEN FLAG close air support exercise and WSINT (Advanced Training in Weapons and Tactics Employment).
Report and photos by Dave O'Brien ( view portfolio )
Last Modified: 31 August 2019