The 414th Combat Training Squadron is one of the more unique units within the United States Air Force. During WWII and the seventies the squadron was a regular fighter squadron. When it was reactivated in 1991 under the 57th Fighter Wing, its mission was to execute the so-called aggressor task and oversee all flying operations over the Nellis training range. This task meant they had to teach adversarial tactics and provide dissimilar air combat training to USAF flying units. The unit provided flying assets during the so-called Red Flag exercises in which it prepared aircrews for combat by replicating tactics used by the enemy forces during combat situations.
This aggressor squadron program had its origin in the post-Vietnam war air force. In 1975 the benefits of evaluating obtained foreign technology aircraft (like Mig-17, Mig-21, Mig-23,…) at test ranges in Nevada were applied to operational fighter squadrons, they improved the combat flying skills of all front-line USAF pilots during the Cold War. To execute this mission a light-weight fighter was chosen, the F-16 is such a lightweight fighter that can challenge other aircrews in combat deployment. At first the unit flew with block 32 airframes, but towards the end of the nineties it was also gaining some block 52 airframes since the squadron wanted to stay on top of technological development and therefore had to deploy the most modern version of the F-16. The squadron flew with a mixed block 32/52 fleet until 2003.
USAF F-16C block 32 #87-0267
from 414 CTS with '67' bort code coming in at Nellis AB for attending the Red Flag 01-04 session. [Tailslides
photo by Peter]
In 2003 a reorganization of the aggressor squadrons took place and the 414th was disbanded in favour of the 64th AS. During the years a number of different camouflage schemes were applied on aircraft of the 414th CTS. These camouflage schemes are identical to those observed on Russian-manufactured aircraft providing air combat maneuvering training to USAF and other aviation forces. We provide a short overview below: