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United Arab Emirates – Air Force Red Flag Exercise….

Exercise Red Flag is an advanced aerial combat training exercise hosted at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Red Flag – Alaska is held at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, being a successor to the previous COPE THUNDER exercise series in the Western Pacific and Alaska. Since 1975, air crews from the United States Air Force (USAF), United States Navy (USN), United States Marine Corps (USMC), United States Army (USA) and numerous  NATO or other allied nations’ air forces take part in one of several Red Flag exercises held during the year, each of which is two weeks in duration.

Under the aegis of the United States Air Force Warfare Center (USAFWC) at Nellis, the Red Flag exercises, conducted in four to six cycles a year by the 414th Combat Training Squadron (414 CTS) of the 57th Wing (57 WG), are very realistic aerial war games. The purpose is to train pilots and other flight crew members from the U.S., NATO and other allied countries for real air combat situations. This includes the use of “enemy” hardware and live ammunition for bombing exercises within the adjacent Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR).

A United Arab Emirates Air Force pilot performed pre-flight checks in a Mirage 2000-9 during Red Flag 13-2, Jan. 22, 2013, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. The UAE Air Force Mirage 2000-9  participated in Red Flag 13-2 from Jan. 21 through Feb. 1, 2013.

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE Nev.– An F-16E from Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, lands at Nellis Air Force Base following a Red Flag 09-5 training mission Aug. 26. This is the first time the nation has participated in Red Flag–a realistic air combat training exercise conducted over the 15,000-square-mile Nevada Test and Training Range north of Las Vegas. The two-week exercise is administered through the 414th Combat Training Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base and is just one in a series of advanced training programs offered by the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center.

The highlight of the exercise were the F-16E/F Desert Falcons from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
These Block 60 Fighting Falcons have many upgrades and external differences to the USAF Vipers that took part in this Red Flag. The Desert Falcon is equipped with the APG-80 Agile Beam Radar which is an electronically-scanned array (AESA) system that provides the pilot improved situational awareness (SA), improved detection and air to ground performance.

The cockpit has three large 5×7 colour Multi-Functional Display (MFD) screens that help reduce pilot workload and increase SA. The Integrated Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR) and Targeting System (IFTS) is also unique to this variant,a nav FLIR turret is located on the upper portion of the nose while the targeting pod is mounted on the port side of the air inlet. The Desert Falcon also uses a new Electronic Warfare suite known as Falcon Edge.

A major performance improvement with the Block 60 is a new engine, the General Electric F110-GE-132 with a thrust of 32,000lbs. The new engine compensates for the increase weight with the new systems in the Viper to keep it’s 9 G performance. Another external difference in the Desert Falcon are the Conformal Fuel Tanks (CFT) mounted bilaterally down the spine of the fuselage that increase the operational range of the F-16E/F. These tanks are not permanent and can be removed in an hour by the ground crew.

The UAE operates 55 single seat F-16E and 25 twin seat F-16F’s, during Red Flag six Desert Falcons participated for each mission.

“The idea is that if you give them very realistic combat-like training early in their careers then they will make the mistakes that most people are going to make in the training environment.”

Think of where UAE were 20 years ago. We are in a much different place today. Our capabilities are Great…….

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