WASHINGTON ― Nearly 3,000 airmen from the U.S., Britain, Japan, South Korea and Thailand participated in Red Flag-Alaska 19-2, which wrapped June 21.
The two-week multinational training exercise is meant to provide realistic combat experience to pilots in a controlled environment, which increases their survivability on actual combat missions, Senior Airman Eric Fisher said in an email.
The exercise is also an opportunity for airmen from partner nations to improve interoperability and exchange tactics, techniques and procedures, Fisher continued. Red Flag-Alaska takes place at the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, which includes a 67,000 square mile range.
When asked about previous equipment issues at the complex and other Air Force facilities, Capt. Kay Nissen, spokesperson for the 354th Fighter Wing, said the training range and exercise scenarios “sufficiently challenged” participating aircraft and units.
“There continues to be opportunities to improve the capabilities of the training range to ensure participants receive the most realistic combat-like experience to prepare for future operations,” she continued. "This is why the 354th Fighter Wing has prioritized investing in the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, to include standing up a new detachment specifically designated to find those opportunities for improvement so warfighters are ready for the high-end fight.”
Aircraft used in the exercise included KC-135 Stratotankers, F-16 Fighting Falcons, Mitsubishii F-2s, C-130 Hercules, UH-60 Black Hawks, HH-60 Pave Hawks, A-10 Thunderbolt IIs and the MQ-9 Reaper, Fisher said. Airmen were able to use live ordnance and dropped 681,505 pounds of munitions, said Senior Airman Isaac Johnson.
Cal Pringle is a general assignment editorial fellow supporting Defense News, C4ISRNET and Fifth Domain. He is attending the University of Richmond.