Tuesday, August 2, 2011

PHOTO: RAAF F/A-18A Hornet & JASDF F-15J Eagle over the tundra

Photo © Commonwealth of Australia. Click on the thumbnail to view hi-resolution image.

A No 3 Squadron F/A-18 Hornet and an F-15 Eagle from the Japan Air Self Defence Force fly low over the Alaskan tundra during Exercise Red Flag Alaska 11-2. During the exercise, RAAF Hornets from 3 Sqn and JASDF F-15 Eagles from No 4 Air Wing (Ed: Insignia on this F-15J is for the JASDF's 303 Kokutai/6 Kokudan based at Kanazawa-Komatsu) have completed bilateral flying operations for the first time. In addition, the RAAF aircraft made a stopover at the JASDF's Misawa Airbase on their way back from Red Flag Alaska. The four-day exchange programme included several activities to enhance shared cooperation between the Australian and Japanese fighter squadrons.

Formerly known as Cope Thunder, Red Flag Alaska is a United States Pacific Air Forces Command led large force employment exercise designed to replicate a high-end combat environment. Aircrew will be exposed to large force employment where they perform counter air, precision strike and offensive air support in packages of up to 100 aircraft. The exercise also provides invaluable training for logistics, support and maintenance personnel as they are able to practice deploying to another country and working together with other Air Forces.

Red Flag Alaska is a large-forces exercise conducted in interior Alaska to simulate air combat. Aircrews will be operating in the 67,000 square-mile Joint Alaska Pacific Range Complex, which offers adequate space and ranges for crews to simulate full-scale aerial battles.

Exercise Red Flag Alaska 11–2 was conducted at the USAF's Eielson Air Force Base between 4 and 22 July.

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