Red Flag

Red Flag-Nellis 23-1 is well underway at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. Officials representing the base have alerted the public that they might notice some increased military air traffic during the joint US, UK, and Australian exercise, scheduled to run from January 23 through February 10.

A US Marine Corps F-35B from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron-221 takes flight. Photo by US Air Force Senior Airman Megan Estrada.

Nellis AFB has hosted the event since 1975. There are three Red Flag events each year, including one for the US only, one for the Five Eyes (FVEY) nations (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the United States), and one that is open to a broader international audience of allies and partners. The 414th Combat Training Squadron conducts the training, and the drills give aircrews a chance to participate in simulated, high-intensity air combat missions in a secure setting. These exercises take place at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, utilizing the Nevada Test and Training Range. The Nevada setting offers the premiere military training ground for the US Air Force, serving up 12,000 square miles of airspace and over 2.9 million acres of land.

Almost 100 aircraft and 3,000 allied service members are participating in the air combat exercise focused on maintaining the readiness and facilitating smooth operations between friendly forces. Colonel Jared Hutchinson, commander of the 414th Combat Training Squadron states, “In our 48th year Red Flag, participants will build confidence under fire, integrated leadership, and a warfighter culture that will win our nation’s fights.” He continued, “Each flag pushes state of the art to a new level by building on the efforts of previous Red Flags. In this iteration, the allied force will be presented with many new and emerging real-world tactical problems.”

January 19, 2023. A Royal Air Force Voyager KC assigned to the 10 and 101 Squadrons of the RAF and based in Brize Norton, England, gets airborne prior to the start of Red Flag 23-1. Photo by US Air Force Senior Airman Megan Estrada.

This year those “new and emerging real-world tactical problems” are designed to align with the 2022 National Defense Strategy of focusing on planning for possible operations in the Indo-Pacific Theater. Colonel Hutchinson also notes the importance of the training for younger airmen stating, “This year is expected to be challenging as it prioritizes young operators; it enables them to learn in the world’s best combat training environment while writing the next chapter of our resilient heritage.”