Red Flag - Changing With The Times

  • Published
  • 57th Adversary Tactics Support Squadron
On Aug. 31, the 57th Adversary Tactics Group (ATG) celebrated the successful completion of Red Flag 07-3, the third and final one of fiscal year 2007.

More than 795 aircrew, maintenance, intelligence, and support personnel from 14 Air Force, Army, Navy, and German air force units sharpened their tactical employment skills in the world's premier aerial combat training event.

During the two-week exercise, participants improved their ability to target and defeat hostile air, surface-to-air, space, and information threats as an integrated team in preparation for major combat operations as well as expeditionary deployments in support of the Global War on Terrorism.

"It's easy to focus on threats and targets when describing Red Flag, but the scenario--the thing that brings it all together--is just as important," said Col. David Stilwell, commander of the 57th ATG.

Creating challenging and realistic scenarios is one of the many duties assigned to the 547th Intelligence Squadron.

As an integral part of the 57th ATG, the 547th IS provides threat and analytical expertise necessary to execute aggressor operations.

As the intelligence focal point for Nellis Air Force Base, the 547th IS supports test and training activities conducted by the 53rd Test and Evaluation Group, Weapons School, Joint Air-to-Ground Operations Group, and 98th Range Wing.

The 547 IS also operates the Threat Training Facility, manages production and publication of Air Force Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures 3-1.2, "Threat Reference Guide and Countertactics"; coordinates with sister services, the Department of Defense, national and foreign intelligence agencies, and organizes numerous combat Air Force threat and tactics conferences on behalf of the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center.

The 547th IS implemented its Geographic Region concept to create scenarios to support accomplishing the Air Expeditionary Force commander's training objectives during Red Flag.

"The Geographic Region concept gives us the flexibility to structure the scenario and maximize the use of limited airspace and ranges. Red Flag players may fly into the same range space every day, but the targets and threats change. This provides realistic training not only to the aircrew, but to the increasingly visible intelligence professionals," said Colonel Stilwell.

The fictional enemy country that Red Flag participants were facing-off against was divided into several geographic regions, each with different levels of technology, training, and capability.

This enabled the Red Flag staff to task friendly forces against a specific region each day of the exercise; tailoring the complexity of threats and targets to the training needs of the participants.

Over the past year, innovative changes like the Geographic Region concept have transformed Red Flag into a dynamic, multi-dimensional event, leading to certification as a Joint National Training Capability by U.S. Joint Forces Command. New initiatives such as automated mission assessment tools, directed energy weapons, and 5th generation fighter replication will ensure Red Flag remains relevant as a world-class training venue now and in the future.

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