Royal Air Force arrive in the US to take part in large scale exercise

RAF Typhoons from 1 Fighter Squadron RAF Lossiemouth arrive at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photographer: Cpl Nicholas Egan RAF - UK MOD © Crown copyright 2022

A large RAF Detachment of over 300 personnel have arrived in the United States to take part in Exercise Red Flag, a major exercise that will test the RAF detachment in complex combat Air Operations.

The deploying RAF detachment is formed from Typhoons from RAF Lossiemouth based 1 (Fighter) Squadron and RAF Coningsby based 41 Test and Evaluation Squadron and supported by Voyagers from 10 and 101 Squadron based at RAF Brize Norton, together with ground support personnel from across the RAF.

For this iteration of the exercise the RAF Typhoons will join with combat aircraft from the United States Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force.  During the exercise the three air forces will face simulated ground based air defence systems, aggressor aircraft that will simulate a peer adversary, and cyber and space-based threats as combat missions are planned conducted and debriefed.

Group Captain Rob Barrett, the RAF Detachment Commander for the exercise, said:

“I’m pleased that after many months of preparation Exercise Red Flag is now getting under way. The Exercise will provide unparalleled training for our air and space warfighters and will help prepare them for operations against any adversary who may choose to confront us in the air, space and cyber domains. The opportunity to reaffirm our close ties with USAF and RAAF colleagues is also very welcome.”

Image shows Detachment Commander Group Captain Rob Barrett outside the Red Flag building at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas Nevada. Photographer: SAC Connor Tierney – UK MOD © Crown copyright 2022

Exercise Red Flag has been a regular fixture on the RAF Exercise programme since the late 1970s and this exercise will be based at the United States Air Force’s Nellis Air Base in Nevada.  The objective of the exercise for participants is to develop capabilities in a high threat and contested environment against a near peer adversary.

The exercise lasting until mid-February will see the RAF aircraft integrating with the USAF and RAAF aircraft as the operations become more complex.  The exercise therefore allows common procedures to be developed tested and practiced together thereby allowing future air operations to be conducted together in a collation more effectively.

Wing Commander John Cockroft, the Officer Commanding 1 (F) Squadron said:

“We have for many years conducted Operations with the UK’s Allies and partner nations and it is by conducting such exercises as Red Flag that RAF Squadrons such as 1 (F) Sqn are able to carry out these operations so successfully with such important allies as Australia and the United States.”


  1. Brings back memories, last went to Nellie’s Air Force Base in about 1980 or 1981 with RAF 10 Sqn, glad the Co operation is still carrying on.


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