Red Flag and other Air Exercises in the NTTR

The Red Flag exercise, held more or less regularly at Nellis Air Force Base since 1975, are very realistic aerial war games. The purpose is to give pilots from the U.S., NATO and other allied countries an opportunity to practice and refine their skills for real combat situations. This includes the use of "enemy" hardware and live ammunition for bombing exercises within the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR). The exercises with flares and all kinds of aircraft can make a spectacular show, especially at night. There are usually two sorties per day, Monday to Friday: One sortie during daytime and one in the evening or at night.

There are two teams, the good guys (Blue Team) and the aggressors (Red Team). The Red Team is made up of Nellis AFB-based pilots specifically trained for the role as adversary, or aggressor, flying F-15 and F-16 aircraft. During the Cold War they sometimes used actual Russian aircraft, and to this day they use call signs such as MiG and Flanker. The Blue Team consists of the various guest "players", the students, in their respective aircraft. For most Red Flag exercises the Blue Team includes the roles of Escort, Interdiction, SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defense), Airlift, Command & Control, Reconnaissance, Refueling and Search & Rescue.

The Red Team sets up on the west side of the Nellis Ranges, in the Tolicha Peak area between Tonopah and Beatty. The Blue Team sets up in the east, over Delamar Lake east of Alamo, which the pilots call Texas Lake because of its shape. The objective for the Blue Team is to neutralize simulated Red Team air defense systems and to hit and destroy targets, mostly in 70's Ranges, south-east of the Tonopah Test Range. Both teams usually meet in the airspace west and north-west of Rachel, where they engage in very realistic aerial dogfights. The southern part of Railroad Valley, and especially the old Cedar Pipeline Ranch is an excellent place to watch the air show.

The most popular viewing spot is close to Rachel, just north of Coyote Summit. By the trash barrels on Hwy. 375 near Coyote Summit take the dirt road that leads south from the highway, and follow it up the hill about 300 yards off the highway. From there you have an excellent view of the planes of the Blue Team coming low through Coyote Summit, as they move in for the attack from Texas Lake. Even better, follow the tracks on the back side of the hill. Park where the tracks end and hike up to the saddle in front of you and from there to the top of the hill to your left. Many of our Red Flag photos were taken from up there.

Other good places to see the Blue Team include the Powerlines Overlook in the mountains behind the Black Mailbox and the Pahroc Summit Pass, which the pilots call Student Gap.

Some Red Flag exercises are U.S. only, while others include coalition forces. The list of foreign countries that have participated in the past includes: Argentinia, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Malaysia, NATO, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom and Venezuela. The exercises usually last two, sometimes three weeks.

Green Flag is an advanced, realistic, and relevant Air to Surface training exercise, preparing joint and coalition warfighters to meet combatant commander requirements across Air, Space, and Cyberspace. It is primarily conducted in conjunction with U.S. Army National Training Center exercises at Fort Irwin, California. It is a Joint exercise administered by the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center and Nellis Air Force Base through the 549th Combat Training Squadron. Source: Nellis AFB

JFEX Joint Forcible Entry Exercise is a U.S. Air Force Weapons School large-scale air mobility exercise in which participants plan and execute a complex air-land operation in a simulated contested battlefield. JFEX participants' ability to synchronize aircraft movements from geographically-separated bases, command large formations of dissimilar aircraft in high threat airspace, and tactically deliver and recover combat forces via air drops and combat landings on an unimproved landing strip. Source: Nellis AFB

U.S. Air Force Weapons School Integration (WSINT) is a series of complex, large-force employment missions that serve as the capstone portion of Weapons School classes, which take place twice a year. WSINT involves the planning and execution of every aspect of air, space and cyber combat operations, with joint force components converging over the Nevada Test and Training Range. Source: Nellis AFB

More information on the various Nellis-based exercises can be found on the Nellis AFB web site.

The following schedule shows the planned dates for upcoming air exercises, and dates for past exercises. For information on participating units (if available) click on "Units". For photos click on "Photos".

Exercise Dates  
FY 2023
RED FLAG 23-307/17/2023 - 08/04/2023  Unconfirmed 
RED FLAG 23-203/06/2023 - 03/17/2023Units Unconfirmed 
RED FLAG 23-101/23/2023 - 02/10/2023Units Confirmed 
JFEX 22B11/19/2022 
WSINT 22B11/18/2022 - 12/01/2022 Approximate
FY 2022
RED FLAG 22-307/09/2022 - 07/29/2022UnitsPhotos
JFEX 22A06/04/2022Audio clip 326.800MHz
WSINT 22A05/27/2022 - 06/09/2022 
RED FLAG 22-203/07/2022 - 03/18/2022Units 
RED FLAG 22-101/24/2022 - 02/11/2022UnitsPhotos
JFEX 21B12/04/2021  
WSINT 21B11/26/2021 - 12/08/2021Photos
FY 2021
RED FLAG 21-307/19/2021 - 08/06/2021UnitsPhotos
JFEX 21A06/05/2021Units 
WSINT 21A05/28/2021 - 06/12/2021 
RED FLAG 21-203/08/2021 - 03/19/2021UnitsPhotos
RED FLAG 21-101/25/2021 - 02/12/2021UnitsPhotos
JFEX 20B12/05/2020Units 
WSINT 20B11/23/2020 - 12/10/2020  
FY 2020
RED FLAG 20-308/03/2020 - 08/14/2020Units 
JFEX 20A06/06/2020  
WSINT 20A05/25/2020 - 06/11/2020  
RED FLAG 20-203/09/2020 - 03/20/2020
2nd week cancelled due to COVID
RED FLAG 20-101/27/2020 - 02/14/2020UnitsPhotos
JFEX 19B12/07/2019  
FY 2019
RED FLAG 19-307/15/2019 - 08/02/2019UnitsPhotos
JFEX 19A06/08/2019  
RED FLAG 19-203/08/2019 - 03/22/2019Units 
RED FLAG 19-101/28/2019 - 02/15/2019Units 
JFEX 18B12/08/2018Units 
FY 2018
RED FLAG 18-307/23/2018 - 08/03/2018Units 
JFEX 18A06/09/2018  
RED FLAG 18-203/09/2018 - 03/23/2018UnitsPhotos
RED FLAG 18-101/26/2018 - 02/16/2018Units 
JFEX 17B12/09/2017  
FY 2017
RED FLAG 17-408/14/2017 - 08/25/2017Units 
RED FLAG 17-307/10/2017 - 07/28/2017Units 
JFEX 17A06/10/2017  
RED FLAG 17-202/27/2017 - 03/10/2017  
RED FLAG 17-101/23/2017 - 02/10/2017Units 
JFEX 16B12/10/2016  
FY 2016
RED FLAG 16-408/15/2016 - 08/26/2016UnitsPhotos
RED FLAG 16-307/11/2016 - 07/29/2016Units 
JFEX 16A06/18/2016  
RED FLAG 16-202/29/2016 - 03/11/2016Units 
RED FLAG 16-101/25/2016 - 02/12/2016Units 
JFEX 15B12/12/2015Units 
FY 2015
RED FLAG 15-408/17/2015 - 08/28/2015Units 
RED FLAG 15-307/13/2015 - 07/31/2015Units 
JFEX 15A06/20/2015  
RED FLAG 15-203/02/2015 - 03/13/2015Units 
RED FLAG 15-101/26/2015 - 02/13/2015Units 
FY 2014
RED FLAG 14-307/14/2014 - 07/25/2014Units 
RED FLAG 14-203/03/2014 - 03/14/2014UnitsPhotos
RED FLAG 14-101/27/2014 - 02/14/2014Units 
FY 2013
RED FLAG 13-302/25/2013 - 03/15/2013Units 
RED FLAG 13-201/21/2013 - 02/01/2013UnitsPhotos
JFEX (MAFEX) Fall 201211/30/2012Units 
FY 2012
JEFX 201208/20/2012 - 08/31/2012  
RED FLAG 12-407/16/2012 - 07/27/2012UnitsPhotos
MAFEX Springs 201205/23/2012Units 
Jaded Thunder 201204/28/2012 - 05/12/2012  
RED FLAG 12-302/27/2012 - 03/16/2012Units 
RED FLAG 12-201/23/2012 - 02/03/2012Units 
FY 2011
RED FLAG 11-302/21/2011 - 03/11/2011UnitsPhotos
RED FLAG 11-201/24/2011 - 02/04/2011Units 
FY 2010
RED FLAG 10-407/19/2010 - 07/30/2010Units 
RED FLAG 10-302/22/2010 - 03/05/2010UnitsPhotos
RED FLAG 10-201/25/2010 - 02/05/2010Units 
RED FLAG 10-110/19/2009 - 10/30/2009Units 
FY 2009
RED FLAG 09-508/24/2009 - 09/04/2009UnitsPhotos
RED FLAG 09-407/13/2009 - 07/24/2009Units 
RED FLAG 09-302/23/2009 - 03/13/2009UnitsPhotos
RED FLAG 09-201/26/2009 - 02/06/2009Units 
RED FLAG 09-110/20/2008 - 10/31/2008Units 
FY 2008
RED FLAG 08-408/11/2008 - 08/22/2008UnitsPhotos
RED FLAG 08-307/21/2008 - 08/01/2008Units 
JEFX 08-3 (#8)04/14/2008 - 04/25/2008  
RED FLAG 08-2.202/04/2008 - 02/15/2008UnitsPhotos
RED FLAG 08-2.101/14/2008 - 01/25/2008Units 
JEFX 08-1 (#7)11/05/2007 - 11/16/2007  
RED FLAG 08-110/22/2007 - 11/02/2007UnitsPhotos
FY 2007
RED FLAG 07-308/18/2007 - 08/31/2007UnitsPhotos
RED FLAG 07-2.202/03/2007 - 02/17/2007UnitsPhotos
RED FLAG 07-2.101/13/2007 - 01/26/2007UnitsPhotos
RED FLAG 07-110/09/2006 - 10/20/2006  
FY 2006
RED FLAG 06-208/05/2006 - 09/02/2006Units 
JEFX 06 (#6)04/17/2006 - 05/05/2006 Photos
RED FLAG 06-101/21/2006 - 02/18/2006UnitsPhotos
FY 2005
RED FLAG 05-4.208/19/2005 - 09/02/2005Units 
RED FLAG 05-4.108/08/2005 - 08/19/2005Units 
RED FLAG 05-3.203/19/2005 - 04/02/2005UnitsPhotos
RED FLAG 05-3.102/26/2005 - 03/12/2005UnitsPhotos
RED FLAG 05-1.210/23/2004 - 11/06/2004UnitsPhotos
RED FLAG 05-1.1   10/10/2004 - 10/23/2004    Units      Photos   

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