NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. --
The familiar roar of America’s air power is filling the skies over Las Vegas and the Nevada Test and Training Range to the north, signaling the start of another Red Flag exercise. However, participants of this iteration will find themselves facing some unfamiliar opposition as the first ever dedicated fifth-generation aggressor force takes to the skies for Red Flag-Nellis 22-3.
More than 20 units and approximately 2,300 participants have arrived at Nellis to take part in the final Red Flag of 2022. Ready to greet them are the pilots of the newly re-activated 65th Aggressor Squadron, as well as the 57th Operations Group’s dedicated multi-domain aggressor force.
In his welcoming remarks 414th Combat Training Squadron commander, Col. Jared “Jabba” Hutchinson foot-stomped that Red Flag-Nellis 22-3 is unlike any previous Red Flags that have gone before it.
“The Aggressor Nation will be unleashed as they refine threat replication, apply advanced threats and jamming capabilities, and increase threat capabilities to maximize training in non-permissive environments,” said Hutchinson. “The airspace is also much different with almost twice as much fight airspace and inclusion of neighboring airspace opportunities to optimize Blue and Red Force tactics.”
This Red Flag also features extended night operations and enhanced combat search and rescue scenarios, in addition to a greatly expanded battle space, all integrated to provide the most true-to-life training experience, designed to prepare Airmen to face pacing challenges in the Pacific and elsewhere.
The 4th Fighter Wing from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, is the lead wing for a diverse joint force comprised of F-35A/C, F-22, B-1B, E-3, E-8, EA-18G, F-15E, HC-130, KC-135, RC-135, HH-60, and MQ-9 aircraft from the Air Force, Navy, Marines and Air National Guard. They have the difficult task of solving the complex tactical problem sets posed by the aggressor force, while gaining invaluable realistic combat experience in an advanced training environment that can only be found at Nellis.
In his remarks upon taking command of the 57th Wing on June 30, Brig. Gen. Richard Goodman highlighted the importance and the urgency of being ready to face pacing challenges, and the role exercises such as Red Flag 22-3 play in that preparation.
“Make no mistake about it, across the security environment, the stakes are huge for our country, for our Air Force and for the joint force,” Goodman said. “But the good news is the 57th Wing has the right Airmen and the right leaders on task, laser-focused on training our Air Force, the joint force, our allies and partners for the next fight, the high-end fight.”
With the potential of matching the best of our combat aircraft against the most advanced adversaries they have seen until now, Red Flag-Nellis 22-3 promises to prepare U.S. warfighters to meet and overcome tactical challenges at a level they have never encountered before.