July 30, 2009 (by SrA Michael Means) - Holloman Air Force Base deployed six F-22A Raptors to their second Red Flag on July 18 for a two week exercise at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska.
USAF F-22A block 30 no. 05-4088 from 7 FS (Marked 49th FW) prepares to fly out from Holloman to Elmendorf AFB on July 19th, 2009 in support of Red Flag. Holloman deployed six F-22's to the exercise in Alaska. [USAF photo by SSgt. Anthony Nelson Jr]
During Red Flag, aircrews are subjected to every conceivable combat threat. Scenarios are shaped to meet each exercise's specific training objectives. All units are involved in the development of exercise training objectives.
"Pilots from Holloman followed a training plan that consisted of a building block approach from smaller formations to larger, more complex missions to prepare for Red Flag," said Capt. Ryan Owen, 7th Fighter Squadron. "Our goal here is to provide realistic combat training from the youngest wingman to the overall mission commander."
Red Flag is a realistic combat training exercise involving the air forces of the United States and its allies with more than 80 aircraft and 11 bases from around the world involved.
"Holloman is integrating with the 90th Fighter Squadron, an F-22 squadron at Elmendorf during this exercise," said Capt. Guillermo Roman, 49th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. "We will be flying a variety of large scale training missions. Many missions will involve escorting strike aircraft into enemy territory to drop bombs and engage against the aggressors."
Coalition and American pilots, aircrews and support members need a realistic training environment, and Red Flag - Alaska provides some of the most realistic training on earth. Alaska provides a different climate and terrain where joint training can occur between services and allies.
"The training environment is very conducive to accomplish our mission," said Captain Roman. "From the beginning we have achieved a seamless integration with the maintainers here at Elmendorf. That has helped us tremendously to acclimate to the tempo we will be sustaining here."
Once each attending unit determines the training they would like to perform, the 353rd Combat Training Squadron staff puts together a specific plan for the participants. The plan includes details such as how many bombs they would like to drop, what aircraft they would like to bring and how many sorties they would like to fly each day.
Members of the 353rd CTS control the Pacific Alaska Range Complex's 67,000 square miles of airspace, one conventional bombing range and two tactical bombing ranges -- containing more than 400 different types of targets and more than 30 threat simulators both manned and unmanned.
"Red Flag offers the 49th Fighter Wing a great opportunity to deploy as a team and give our Airmen experience operating the aircraft in a realistic combat environment," said Col. Jeff Harrigian, 49th Fighter Wing commander. "The unique setting Alaska provides allows members of the wing to work together and learn what challenges are associated with deploying to a variety of areas and terrains."
The team is scheduled to return to Holloman August 8.