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.
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.”
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 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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