Red Flag Rising

RAF Typhoon aircraft from 6 Squadron based at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland participating in exercise RED FLAG 17.

Eight Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon-FGR4 fighters from 6 Squadron based at RAF Lossiemouth airbase in northern Scotland are taking part in the world’s largest, and most complex, air combat exercise.

Held at the United States Air Force’s Nellis airbase in Nevada, Exercise RED FLAG is a three-week effort that pits friendly ‘Blue’ forces, including 6 Squadron’s Typhoon-FGR4s, against hostile ‘Red Force’ aggressors in live and synthetic training environments. These environments simulate air-to-air and air-to-ground combat, and space and cyber warfare.

For the RAF Typhoon Force it is the start of three months of squadron activity in the US, with 6 Squadron participating in Exercise RED FLAG, the Typhoon-FGR4 aircraft of 2 Squadron taking over for Exercise GREEN FLAG (which focuses on Close Air Support training) and the Typhoon-FGR4s of 1 Squadron taking part in a tri-lateral exercise alongside the US and France. The latter last took place at Langley airbase, Virginia, in December 2015 when Typhoon-FGR4s worked alongside USAF Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor and French Air Force Dassault Rafale-F3A/B fighters.

Exercise RED FLAG also sees the Typhoon-FGR4s work alongside USAF F-22A and Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning-II fighters. This continues the evolving integration of RAF operations with fifth-generation fighters ahead of the introduction of the F-35B into the RAF’s combat air inventory in 2018.