Red Flag 23-3 kicks off at Nellis

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Zachary Rufus
  • 57th Wing Public Affairs

Southern Nevada residents may notice an increase in military aircraft activity from July 17 through August 4 as Nellis begins Red Flag 23-3. Red Flag is one of the U.S. Air Force’s largest combat training exercises.

The 414th Combat Training Squadron hosts Red Flag with a mission to maximize the combat readiness, capability and survivability of participating units. They provide realistic, multi-domain training in a combined air, ground, space and electronic threat environment while providing opportunities for a free exchange of ideas between forces.

“The key objectives in this iteration include strengthening joint force integration, capitalizing on our mobility force with tanker integration, and enhancing proficiency in agile combat employment with an emphasis on agile logistics capabilities,” said Col. Eric Winterbottom, 414th CTS commander. “These objectives aim to enhance the overall operational capabilities, readiness, and joint effectiveness across the spectrum.”

Red Flag 23-3 aligns with the National Defense Strategy and will focus on training joint force operations and command and control. The large-scale exercise maximizes collaboration and synergy among joint and interagency partners, making our nation’s forces more lethal.

“The Department of Defense prioritizes the People’s Republic of China as our number one pacing challenge,” said Winterbottom. “Red Flag helps our warfighters develop the right operational concepts, capabilities and plans to bolster deterrence and maintain our competitive advantage.

“We also train to respond to and effectively deter nation-state threats emanating from Russia, Iran and North Korea, and transnational and non-state actor threats from violent extremist organizations, such as those operating in the Middle East, Africa, and South and Central Asia.”

Red Flag 23-3 recognizes the critical role of aerial refueling and will emphasize tanker aircraft capability to extend their range and endurance, tackling the tyranny of distance. A notable number of KC-135A and KC-46 aircraft are participating to prioritize strategic mobility and refueling in a contested environment.

“Red Flag’s enduring principles are why it has remained the USAF’s premier large-force exercise for the last 48 years,” said Winterbottom. “It shapes our priorities which are the same for each exercise; safety, realism and relevance.”