RED FLAG 20-1 - Nellis AFB / Nevada

Update: 2020/02/09  all images & content by Shawn Clish / CHK6

On Friday January 31st, 2020, I was fortunate enough to be able to spend the day outside Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, photographing the afternoon launch of exercise Red Flag 20-1.  There was a lot to be grateful for as a spotter on this day; the sun was shining, the sky was blue and most of the departing aircraft executed the VFR FLEX departure to the north.

Since 1975, Nellis AFB has been home to Exercise Red Flag.  Born from lessons learned in Vietnam, Exercise Red Flag has hosted more than 29 countries and exposed over 157 000 aircrew to a realistic threat environment in an effort to enhance their chances of survivability in combat.   Planned and controlled by the 414th Combat Training Squadron, military units join together to form an expeditionary force known as ‘Blue Air’, attacking targets located throughout the vast bombing and gunnery ranges of the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR), located just north of Nellis.  Their opponents, ‘Red Air’, operated by the 57th Adversary Tactics Group, are specially trained to replicate the tactics and techniques of potential adversaries.  Camouflaged F-16’s from the locally based 64th Aggressor Squadron have been joined recently by contracted aircraft from Draken International to provide multi-domain training on each mission over the two or three week long course.

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