Russian Air Force to take part in next Red Flag exercise. Who's gonna play the Aggressor role?

According to an article recently appeared on The Voice of Russia website, the Russian Air Force has planned to take part to the Red Flag exercise (the 13-1 scheduled in the fall of 2012), at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

Therefore, it would seem that, as already done some years ago by the Indians, who trained in the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR) with the Su-30 MKI, Russian combat planes will deploy to the U.S. and fight in modern scenarios with western fighter jets.

Joint drills have already been conducted in the past, to improve cooperation in anti-terrorism operations. As happened during Vigilant Eagle cooperative exercise, whose scenario required both the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the Russian Air Force to launch or divert fighter aircraft to investigate, identify and escort hijacked planes.

However, if partecipation to the Red Flag is confirmed, it will be at least funny to see the Russians operate within mixed packages and COMAO against U.S. Aggressors whose role is to imitate Russia’s fighter pilots tactics…

Update Jul. 6, 2012 20:45 GMT:

This message was published by the Nellis AFB Facebook page:

Reports of Russian Federation Air Force participation in Red Flag exercises at Nellis in the near future are inaccurate. For questions about Russian Federation Air Force participation in Red Flag-Alaska, please contact the Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs through the switchboard at the Pentagon.

Image credit: U.S. Army photo by Maj. Mike Humphreys

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. I’d think this is more of a diplomatic move than one to test strategies; wouldn’t we be giving tactics away?

    Certainly concerning given that Putin is more of an enemy than an ally at this point.

  2. This would be so cool… no more pretending to be the Russians but having real Russians to dogfight against!

  3. The Indian Air Force did not take their SU 30 MKI to the US. They took the less capable SU 30

  4. From the “Daily Report” (AFA – Air Force association) – Monday July 09, 2012

    “No Krasni Flag

    Russia won’t be participating in an Air Force Red Flag exercise this year, according to an exercise spokesman at Eielson AFB, Alaska.

    What? Russia at Red Flag?

    Several media outlets—including the Voice of Russia radio network’s English-language website—ran stories last week suggesting Russia would indeed be sending fighters to a Red Flag exercise in October, either at Nellis AFB, Nev., or in Alaska.

    This would be an extraordinary first if true, and a watershed development in US-Russian relations.

    But, alas, no red-starred Flankers and Fulcrums will be populating the ramps at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Eielson, or anywhere else.

    Air Force officials told the Daily Report on July 6 that Russia had requested sending observers—not aircraft—to a Red Flag exercise this fall, but it won’t be happening.

    While it would have been interesting to see those Sukhoi and MiG fighters at Red Flag—playing Red Air, perhaps?—modern Russian-designed fighters have already played in a Red Flag.

    In 2008, India brought its Su-30s MKI fighters to Nellis.

    —John A. Tirpak”

    Era troppo bello per essere vero ….. :(

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