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Red Flag-Alaska strengthens coalition forces

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- An F-16 Fighting Falcon from the 64th Aggressor Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., taxis down the runway April 6 for a Red Flag-Alaska 07-1 orientation flight. Red Flag-Alaska enables aviation units to sharpen their combat skills by flying ten simulated combat sorties in a realistic threat environment. Additionally, the training allows them to exchange tactics, techniques, and procedures and improve interoperability.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justin Weaver).

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- An F-16 Fighting Falcon from the 64th Aggressor Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., taxis down the runway April 6 for a Red Flag-Alaska 07-1 orientation flight. Red Flag-Alaska enables aviation units to sharpen their combat skills by flying ten simulated combat sorties in a realistic threat environment. Additionally, the training allows them to exchange tactics, techniques, and procedures and improve interoperability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justin Weaver).

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- A B-1B Lancer from Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, takes off April 6 on a orientation flight during the kick-off of Red Flag-Alaska 07-1. Red Flag-Alaska allows aircrews to practice large-scale combat missions. The exercises are conducted on the Pacific Alaskan Range Complex with air operations flown out of Eielson and Elmendorf Air Force bases. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justin Weaver).

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- A B-1B Lancer from Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, takes off April 6 on a orientation flight during the kick-off of Red Flag-Alaska 07-1. Red Flag-Alaska allows aircrews to practice large-scale combat missions. The exercises are conducted on the Pacific Alaskan Range Complex with air operations flown out of Eielson and Elmendorf Air Force bases. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justin Weaver).

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska--A French air force Mirage 2000 jet kicks on its afterburner as it flies towards the Pacific Alaskan Range Complex during a Red Flag-Alaska 07-1 orientation flight April 6. This exercise provides unique opportunities to help integrate various forces into joint, coalition, and bilateral training from simulated forward operating bases. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justin Weaver).

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska--A French air force Mirage 2000 jet kicks on its afterburner as it flies towards the Pacific Alaskan Range Complex during a Red Flag-Alaska 07-1 orientation flight April 6. This exercise provides unique opportunities to help integrate various forces into joint, coalition, and bilateral training from simulated forward operating bases. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justin Weaver).

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska--An F-18 Hornet from the Strike Fighter Squadron in Naval Air Station, Va., taxis past French air force Mirage 2000 jets April 6 on the flight line here. More than 1,300 military members from the United States, France and Australia are gathering in the Last Frontier to participate in Red Flag-Alaska 07-1 scheduled from April 5 to 21. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justin Weaver).

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska--An F-18 Hornet from the Strike Fighter Squadron in Naval Air Station, Va., taxis past French air force Mirage 2000 jets April 6 on the flight line here. More than 1,300 military members from the United States, France and Australia are gathering in the Last Frontier to participate in Red Flag-Alaska 07-1 scheduled from April 5 to 21. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justin Weaver).

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska--An F-16 Fighting Falcon from the 64th Aggressor Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., taxis down the runway April 6 for a Red Flag - Alaska 07-1 orientation flight. The exercise, formerly known as Cope Thunder, provides joint offensive counter-air, interdiction, close-air support and large-force employment training in a simulated combat environment. Red Flag - Alaska runs through April 20. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justin Weaver).

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska--An F-16 Fighting Falcon from the 64th Aggressor Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., taxis down the runway April 6 for a Red Flag - Alaska 07-1 orientation flight. The exercise, formerly known as Cope Thunder, provides joint offensive counter-air, interdiction, close-air support and large-force employment training in a simulated combat environment. Red Flag - Alaska runs through April 20. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justin Weaver).

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska--A French air force Mirage 2000 jet kicks on its afterburner as it flies towards the Pacific Alaskan Range Complex during a Red Flag-Alaska 07-1 orientation flight April 6. This exercise provides unique opportunities to help integrate various forces into joint, coalition, and bilateral training from simulated forward operating bases. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justin Weaver).

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska--A French air force Mirage 2000 jet kicks on its afterburner as it flies towards the Pacific Alaskan Range Complex during a Red Flag-Alaska 07-1 orientation flight April 6. This exercise provides unique opportunities to help integrate various forces into joint, coalition, and bilateral training from simulated forward operating bases. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justin Weaver).

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska--Pilots from the French Air Force complete post-flight checks on a Mirage 2000 aircraft April 3 on the flightline. More than 250 French air force personnel are participating in Red Flag - Alaska 07-1. Red Flag - Alaska allows aircrews to practice large-scale combat missions. The exercises are conducted on the Pacific Alaskan Range Complex with air operations flown out of Eielson and Elmendorf Air Force bases. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justin Weaver).

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska--Pilots from the French Air Force complete post-flight checks on a Mirage 2000 aircraft April 3 on the flightline. More than 250 French air force personnel are participating in Red Flag - Alaska 07-1. Red Flag - Alaska allows aircrews to practice large-scale combat missions. The exercises are conducted on the Pacific Alaskan Range Complex with air operations flown out of Eielson and Elmendorf Air Force bases. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justin Weaver).

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, ALASKA --A French air force crew chief marshals a French Mirage 2000 jet on the flightline April 3. More than 1,300 air force personnel from the U.S., France and Australia are arriving in Alaska this week to take part in Red Flag-Alaska, a series of training exercises that include war games with allies and mock enemies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justin Weaver).

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, ALASKA --A French air force crew chief marshals a French Mirage 2000 jet on the flightline April 3. More than 1,300 air force personnel from the U.S., France and Australia are arriving in Alaska this week to take part in Red Flag-Alaska, a series of training exercises that include war games with allies and mock enemies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justin Weaver).

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, ALASKA -- Staff Sgt. Cedric Hughes, 354th Security Forces Squadron, helps 2nd Lt. Olivier Zemauli, a French Air Force pilot, with customs paperwork April 3 on the flightline. Security forces Airmen are certified to clear military aircraft and personel through customs when arriving at Eielson from another country. More than 1,300 air force personnel from the U.S., France and Australia are arriving in Alaska this week to take part in Red Flag-Alaska, a series of training exercises that include war games with allies and mock enemies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justin Weaver).

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, ALASKA -- Staff Sgt. Cedric Hughes, 354th Security Forces Squadron, helps 2nd Lt. Olivier Zemauli, a French Air Force pilot, with customs paperwork April 3 on the flightline. Security forces Airmen are certified to clear military aircraft and personel through customs when arriving at Eielson from another country. More than 1,300 air force personnel from the U.S., France and Australia are arriving in Alaska this week to take part in Red Flag-Alaska, a series of training exercises that include war games with allies and mock enemies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justin Weaver).

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- Red Flag-Alaska, a multi-service, multi-platform coordinated, combat operations exercise, kicked off April 5 with the ultimate goal of improving the operational capability of participating units and fostering stronger relations between U.S. and coalition forces.
 
Red Flag-Alaska allows these units, whose missions may differ significantly, the opportunity to work in a training environment with units that may deploy together in the future. 

"Historically [in war] we have never fought alone, and these exercises help foster good community relations with our allies." said Col. Jeffry Smith, Air Expeditionary Wing commander for RF-A 07-1. "Red Flag-Alaska allows us the opportunities to not only integrate our tactics and technical procedures, but also to iron out any communication or hardware differences we might face." 

More than 1,300 military members from the United States, France and Australia will train together for two-weeks on the Pacific Alaskan Range Complex during RF-A 07-1.
 
"We hope this exercise will help strengthen the relationship between France and the United States," said Lt. Col. Eric Bometon, French air force commander. "The range in Alaska is fantastic and we look to improve our air and ground crew training while we are here." 

Red Flag-Alaska provides some of the finest training possible ensuring fighter pilots and aircrews receive at least 10 sorties in a realistic simulated combat environment. 

This is accomplished on the Air Force's largest range complete with more than 29 air defense systems, unmanned (ground) threat emitters and fourth generation Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation pods on aircraft. 

"This exercise will give our pilots the experience and skills they need to be successful," said Colonel Bometon. "It is exceptional to have the different participants and aircraft all in the same place." 

Participants are divided into opposing "hostile" and "friendly" forces flying against each other in air-to-air and air-to-ground combat and combat support missions using a variety of aircraft against a realistic set of threats. Fighting against a robust air-to-air and surface-to-air threat provides a real challenge for the pilots. 

Pilots face three different dynamics here at Red Flag-Alaska, said Colonel Smith. They have to deal with a much greater airspace, a very diverse terrain and in-climate weather. 

"This exercise helps prepare us for the fight for tomorrow," said Colonel Smith. "I hope that each aviator graduating from this exercise will leave here fantastically prepared to fight."