JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska --
The U.S. and the United Kingdom have long had a “special relationship,” fighting side-by-side in numerous conflicts since the mid-19th century. Service members continue that relationship here at RED FLAG-Alaska 22-1.
Residents of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson will notice an olive-green C-130J Hercules parked at the end of the flightline alongside the U.S. military aircraft. The Hercules is assigned to the Royal Air Force's No. 47 Squadron at RAF Brize Norton in England.
"This exercise is extremely important because it allows us to develop and refine operating techniques with our coalition partners," said RAF Sgt. Jase Roy, No. 47 Squadron C-130J Hercules Air loadmaster. “It is vital that the skills and lessons from this exercise are passed on to the next generation to ensure that tactical air transport remains at the forefront of our capabilities.”
This iteration of RF-A 22-1 offers realistic training in a simulated combat environment, with primary flight operations over the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex. Approximately 2,220 service members from three nations are flying and maintaining, supporting more than 90 aircraft from approximately two dozen units, including the RAF and the Royal Canadian Air Force.
“It allows us to ‘fight’ against some of the most skilled operators and advanced technology in the world today,” Roy explained. “All of this improves our combat readiness and effectiveness.”
Flying through the JPARC and the terrain itself provides the RAF with a unique and challenging operating environment to put their skills to the test.
“We are excited to welcome Great Britain and Canada to this iteration of RF-A,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. William Hock, assistant director of operations for Detachment 1, 354th Operations Group. “Their participation allows us to exchange tactics, techniques and procedures while we train for full-spectrum engagements and large-scale joint engagement.”
Roy went on to say that RF-A allows his team to maintain their close working relationship and familiarity with other forces. While the exercise is still ongoing, the RAF has tackled various objectives for their mission such as flying low-level, resupplying ground troops via airdrops, and conducting evasive flight maneuvering.
Hock said RF-A encourages participants to push their capabilities and sharpen their lethality with each sortie from a planning standpoint.
This iteration ends on May 13, and the next, RF-A 22-2, is scheduled for the following month.