Red Flag 17-1 kicks off at Nellis AFB

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kevin Tanenbaum
  • 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The U.S. Air Force’s three-week premier air-to-air combat training exercise, Red Flag 17-1, began today and will conclude on Feb. 10.

Due to this, base officials want to remind southern Nevada residents that they may notice increased military aircraft activity.

Aircraft will depart from Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada twice a day to participate in joint and coalition combat training missions over the skies of the Nevada Test and Training Range in one of the Air Force’s largest exercises.

“Red Flag is important because of what it provides,” said Maj. Jeffrey Falanga, 414th Combat Training Squadron director of operations. “It provides our training audience a realistic environment enabling them to practice in all domains--air, ground, space, and cyber--and also to be able to practice interoperability with not only U.S., but joint and coalition forces. Which is important since we’ll operate with these forces in our next engagement.”

With each Red Flag iteration there comes unique aspects, and 17-1 is no different with its integration of fifth generation aircraft assets.

“Our Airmen are excited to bring the F-35 to a full-spectrum combat exercise,” said Col. David Lyons, 388th FW commander. “(The Red Flag) battle space is going to be a great place to leverage our stealth and interoperability. It’s a lethal platform and I’m confident we will prove to be an invaluable asset to the commander.”


The three-week, fourth and fifth generation’ exercise will incorporate the friendly ‘Blue Forces’ against hostile ‘Red Force’ aggressors in live and synthetic training environments, simulating air-to-air, air-to-ground and space and cyber warfare.

“The significance of this Red Flag is that it will be the first time that we have U.S. Air Force F-35 [Lightning II] participation,” said Falanga. “The F-35 will be operating with the F-22 Raptor so there will be additional fifth generation capability and integration that will occur. It is also going to be one of the first times the F-35 operates with coalition assets.”

According to the Red Flag fact sheet, the exercise typically involves a variety of attack, fighter and bomber aircraft, reconnaissance aircraft, electronic warfare aircraft, air superiority aircraft, airlift support, search and rescue aircraft, aerial refueling aircraft, command and control aircrafts well as ground based command and control, space, and cyber forces.