The exercise, organized and conducted by the 414th Combat Training Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base and on the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR), a military training area of more than 12,000 square miles of airspace and 2.9 million acres of land where about 2,000 possible targets and anti-aircraft systems are dispersed to simulate a realistic battlefield, aims to train pilots from the U.S. and allied air forces to operate, survive and win together in a modern war.
Around 150 aircraft are scheduled to attend this year’s first Red Flag that, as usual, will feature two daily “waves” lasting up to five hours. Once again, along with the most important U.S. assets, including the F-22 Raptor stealth fighters and F-15E Strike Eagles, Nellis Air Force Base is hosting some allied contingents.
Among them, the Royal Australian Air Force, withi its F-18s and E-7, as well as the Royal Air Force with the Tornado GR4s from 9 Sqn at Marham, one E-3D Sentry from 8 Sqn at RAF Waddington and Eurofighter Typhoons FGR4s from 6 Squadron based at RAF Leuchars that will operate in the swing role.
Image credit: U.S. Air Force / RAF Crown Copyright
This video, that is particularly interesting because it is commented “live” by the pilot Flight Lieutenant Jamie Norris, 2013 Royal Air Force Typhoon Display Pilot, is currently showing at the London Science Museum.
The first flight took place at the Manching Military Air Systems Center, north of Munich, and involved Instrumented Production Aircraft 7 (IPA7), flown by Eurofighter Project Pilot Chris Worning.
Taurus KEPD 350 is a German/Swedish missile that is manufactured by Taurus Systems GmbH, a partnership between MBDA Germany and Saab Dynamics. The missile has a range of +500 kilometres (300 mi), a speed of Mach 0.8-0.9 and stealth features.
The first flight came after the successful ground tests and taxi tests; the flying activities, taking place within the Storm Shadow integration program, will focus on flutter tests, air data system large store interference assessment and aerodynamic data gathering.
According to Airbus Defense and Space (a newly formed division of Airbus Group combining the business activities of Cassidian, Astrium and Airbus Military) concurrent testing of the two similar missiles “optimises the Storm Shadow integration and facilitates the future airframe integration of Taurus.”
The Instrumented Production Aircraft 2 (IPA2) Typhoon, updated to the Phase 1 Enhancement standard, carrying two stealthy, long-range precision Storm Shadow missiles was spotted at Deci airbase in the last weeks.
The photographs in this post, taken by The Aviationist contributor Gian Luca Onnis, provide a closer look at the Typhoon configuration, featuring two AIM-9L Sidewinder and AIM-120 AMRAAMs along with the Storm Shadows.