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F-35B taxi for take off during Exercise Red Flag 20-1

Exercise RED FLAG is a premier multi-national combat training exercise which is conducted on the vast bombing ranges of the Nevada Test and Training Area. This is the first time that the UK’s F35 Lightnings have taken part in Exercise RED FLAG which will see them flying alongside a variety of aircraft from other nations, providing aircrews the experience of multiple, intensive air combat sorties in the safety of a training environment to maximise combat readiness, capability and interoperability.

A Royal Australian Air Force EA-18G Growler of 6 Squadron, conducts Air to Air refuelling off a Royal Air Force Voyager during Exercise RED FLAG

An EA-18G Growler from the Electronic Attack Squadron 131 (VAQ-131) of the US Navy, heads for refuel, during a training mission whilst taking part on Exercise RED FLAG.

RAF Marham Station Commander, Group Captain Beck said “This is another first for the Lightning Force and will give the opportunity for our pilots to really put the F-35s to the test in a combat representative environment. This training is as near to high-end operational flying as our pilots can get in a controlled environment and will really test them and the teams that support the Squadron.”

Cyber Aggressors from the Royal Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force and United States Air Force work closely together during Exercise RED FLAG 20-1, providing aircraft and their pilots with realistic threats to further strengthen cyber defences.

Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, is one of the largest fighter bases in the world. Aircraft from Nellis operate on the Nevada Test and Training Range, which offers more than 15,000 square miles of airspace and 4,700 square miles of restricted land, allowing them to conduct advanced combat training, performs operational test and evaluation, and develops tactics.

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning is a single-seat, single-engine, fifth generation multirole fighters, that will operate alongside Typhoon to perform ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defence missions with stealth capability, simultaneously.

The F-35B Lightning aircraft from 617 Squadron from RAF Marham, take part in Exercise RED FLAG at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.

The aircraft combines advanced sensors and mission systems with low observable technology, or ‘stealth’, which enables it to operate undetected in hostile airspace. It’s integrated sensors, sensor fusion and data linking provide the pilot with unprecedented situational awareness. The pilot is able to share information gathered by the jet with other platforms using secure data links, and/or use the information to employ weapons or electronic means.

The Lightning’s short take off and vertical landing (STOVL) capability allows it to operate from the new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers and the vessels of allied nations, as well as short airstrips.

Formed at RAF Scampton in 1943, 617 Sqn have been based at RAF Marham from mid-2018 and are one of the most famous RAF squadrons following the Dambusters Raid, carrying out strikes against Dams in the Ruhr Valley using the Barnes Wallis ‘bouncing bomb’.

Their Former aircraft flown include Lancaster, Vulcan B.2 and Tornado GR1 and now the RAF’s first multi-role supersonic stealth aircraft, the F-35 Lightning.

British Armed Forces News

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A Rockwell B-1 Lancer heavy bomber, taking part in Exercise Red Flag 20-1
F-35B pilots and ground crew prepare for the days training mission at Exercise Red Flag
617 Squadron Aircraft Technicians conduct checks on the F-35B Lightning during Exercise red Flag 20-1
F-35B prepare to take off for a training mission during Exercise Red Flag.
A 41 Squadron Typhoon from RAF Coningsby takes off for a training mission during Exercise Red Flag
An F-35B Lightning takes off for a training mission during Exercise Red Flag
F-35B Lighting rest on the pan at Nellis Air force Base with the bright lights of Las Vegas behind them
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