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Historic Red Flag kicks off

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- Southern Nevada residents may notice an increase in military aircraft activity starting Jan. 13 and continuing through Feb. 17 as a historic Red Flag exercise takes place here.

For the first time, the newly operational F-22 Raptor, the Air Force's premier stealth fighter aircraft, will participate in the exercise along with their other stealth brethren, the F-117 Nighthawk and B-2 Spirit.

"The Raptor will be flying in Red Flag for the first time, and its role will be primarily air-to-air fighter escort for the Flag's air-to-ground strike aircraft, but will also demonstrate its air-to-ground capabilities," said Capt. James Govin, 414th Combat Training Squadron flight commander and team chief for this Red Flag.

The Raptor's participation in this exercise coincides with Wednesday's announcement from U.S. Pacific Command that the Air Force is scheduled to deploy a squadron of F-22s in early 2007 to Kadena Air Base, Japan, as part of that command's theater security package in the Western Pacific. This will be the first overseas deployment for the aircraft.

Along with the Air Force, Red Flag 07-2 will involve more than 200 multi-service and coalition aircraft. In addition to the stealth participants, aircraft ranging from the unmanned MQ-1 Predator to the Royal Air Force's Tornado, Australian Air Force's F-111 Aardvark and high-flying U-2 surveillance aircraft will be departing and returning over the next month. These aircraft will be flying missions during the day and night to the nearby Nevada Test and Training Range where they will simulate an air and ground war.


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