ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. --
B-1B Lancers from the 37th Bomb Squadron participated in Red Flag 21-2 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, from March 8-19.
The two-week exercise provided Airmen the opportunity to train realistically alongside a number of different units and airframes from across the U.S. and around the world. In addition to the B-1, Red Flag hosted several airframes from allied nations including the E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) from NATO; F-35 Lightning II’s from Sweden and Norway; and F-15SG Eagle fighter jets from Singapore.
“It is proof of our commitment to our coalition partners. If we ever have to go to combat together, [this exercise] is going to pay huge dividends,” said Col. Daniel Hoadley, the 28th Bomb Wing vice commander also serving as the deployed vice wing commander for this Red Flag. “Our adversaries are watching us right now. They know that if they decide to get chippy and aggressive, there’s going to be a big team that’s going to come after them, and it’s a lethal and resilient team.”
Red Flag exercises have been held at Nellis AFB since 1975. Exercises take place on the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR) – the Air Force’s premier military training area consisting of more than 12,000 square miles of airspace and 2.9 million acres of land.
Hoadley noted that the training provided “opportunities for tremendous growth and tactical proficiency for all of our aviators and maintainers.”
Nellis AFB and the NTTR provided realistic threat systems, with 2,200 unique targets and an opposing enemy force to train and equip aircrews for practical combat simulations. While the exercise hosted nearly 100 aircraft, the B-1 was the only Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) asset, and the only airframe with long-range strike capabilities to participate in this iteration of Red Flag.
According to Hoadley, there are three reasons the B-1 is essential to the mission – persistence, payload and versatility.
“We’re ambassadors to the rest of the combat Air Force units. We represent what Air Force Global Strike Command brings to the fight and what our bombers are capable of,” said Hoadley. “In many ways win-or-lose is defined by how effectively the B-1 performs – the good news is we were extremely successful.”