It’s ‘boom boom’ time again: Red Flag exercises underway at Nellis Air Force Base

In this file photo, an F-22 Raptor banks off after receiving fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over the Nevada Test and Training Range in a training sortie during a Red Flag exercise in which units from the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy work together to succeed in air, space and cyberspace, Nevada, July 21, 2016 | Photo courtesy of and by U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jake Carter, St. George News

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. – Southern Utah, Arizona  and Nevada residents may notice increased noise from military aircraft as the Air Force is currently conducting Red Flag 18-2 exercises through March 23.

An F-15E Strike Eagle assigned to the 389th Fighter Squadron from Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, takes off during Red Flag 15-3 at Nellis AFB, Nev., July 21, 2015. Aircraft and personnel deploy to Nellis for RED FLAG under the Air Expeditionary Force concept and make up the exercise’s “Blue” forces. By working together, these Blue forces are able to utilize the diverse capabilities of their aircraft to execute specific missions, such as air interdiction, combat search and rescue, close air support, dynamic targeting and defensive counter air. | Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force, St. George News

Aircraft are scheduled to depart Nellis twice a day at various times. There may be night launches as well to allow air crews to train for nighttime combat operations.

Red Flag is a realistic combat training exercise involving the air, space and cyberforces of the U.S. and its allies. The exercise takes place north of Las Vegas at the Nevada Test and Training Range, the Air Force’s premier military training area with more than 15,000 square miles of airspace and 2.9 million acres of land.

“Red Flag is important because of what it provides,” said Maj. Jeffrey Falanga, 414th Combat Training Squadron director of operations, according to a Nellis news release. “It provides our training audience a realistic environment enabling them to practice in all domains – air, ground, space and cyber – and also to be able to practice interoperability with not only U.S., but joint and coalition forces, which is important since we’ll operate with these forces in our next engagement.”

Red Flag gives aircrews an opportunity to experience advanced, relevant and realistic combat-like situations in a controlled environment to increase their ability to complete missions. It also prepares maintenance personnel, ground controllers, space operators and cyberoperators to support those missions within the same tactical environment.

The 414th Combat Training Squadron is responsible for executing Red Flag and this exercise is one of a series of advanced training programs administered at Nellis and on the NTTR by organizations assigned to the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center.

The Red Flag exercises commence on a yearly basis, but regular Air Force training is conducted throughout the year, occasionally producing loud booming noises throughout Southern Utah and Nevada during flyovers and munition testing.

More information about Red Flag and other Air Force operations can be found at the Nellis AFB website.

St. George News reporter Joseph Witham contributed to this report.

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Twitter: @STGnews

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