Yet again, I had the opportunity to visit Nellis AFB around the time of a planned Red Flag exercise. Originally booked when the Colombian AF Kfir’s and UAE Mirage 2000’s were scheduled to participate, the postponement of their participation (along with Belgian F16’s also planned to be there) meant that the RF18-2 exercise would become an all US affair.
The combination of Red Flag and Green Flag exercises resulted in Nellis AFB being packed with aircraft. The list of participating squadrons for RF18-2 was (courtesy http://www.dreamlandresort.com):
|Red Team Air||F-16C||64 Aggressor Squadron, Nellis AFB, NV|
|144th FW, Califonia ANG, Fresno, CA
169th FW, McEntire Joint NGB, SC
482nd FW, 93rd FS, Homestead ARB, FL*
176th FS, Wisconsin ANG, Madison, WI
175th FS. South Dakota ANG, Sioux Falls, SD
|7th Bomb Wing, Dyess AFB, TX*
VFMA (AW)-225, MCAS Miramar, CA
|20th FW, 79th Fighter Squadron, Shaw AFB, SC
VAQ-138, NAS Whidbey Island, WA
|Command & Control||E-3 C/G
|960 AACS, Tinker AFB, OK
461st Air Control Wing, Robins AFB, GA
319th Special Operations Sq, Hurburt Field, FL
|92nd ARW, RFTTF, Fairchild AFB, WA
RFTTF, MacDill AFB, FL
|Search & Rescue||HC-130J||79th RQS, Davis Monthan AFB, AZ*|
The * indicates that these participants were not seen during my visit.
Green Flag participants included A10’s from the 355th Operations Group based at Davis Monthan AFB, AZ., F16’s from 510th Fighter Squadron based at Aviano, Italy, F16’s from the 158th Fighter Wing, Vermont ANG, Burlington ANGB, VT and C-130E’s from 23rd Air Wing, Pope AFB, NC
Unfortunately a lot of the participants used Runway 21L for arrivals, which meant left turns to finals, away from my usual haunt at gate 4 of the Las Vegas Speedway – even some of the based aircraft with the 53rd Test and Evaluation Group and the 57th Wing Weapons School were using the far runway. So more of my images are crops of undersides than I would have liked 🙁 .
Although the exercises were due to commence on March 9th, there was little activity on that day – most of my images are from the previous 2 days. It would seem that the first day of the exercises is an orientation day and is predominantly on base – if you do intend to travel to Nellis AFB for an exercise, I strongly suggest picking days which are in the middle of the schedule.