Airforces - Typhoon school

(Jacob Rumans) #1
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at #361 APRIL 2018 // 7

Largest ever Red Flag concludes at Nellis
brought aircraft from three
nations to the skies of
Nevada from January 26
to February 16. In addition
to operations by all four
US military branches,
Red Flag 18-1 featured
Royal Air Force and Royal
Australian Air Force units.
RAF participation included
eight Typhoons (see
Typhoons at Red Flag 18-1,
March, p8) and a Voyager

KC2, while the RAAF
brought EA-18 Growlers.
“We’re trying a few
new and different things
with Red Flag 18-1,” said
Col Michael Mathes,
414th Combat Training
Squadron commander.
“It’s the largest Red Flag
ever with the largest
number of participants,
highlighting the balance
of training efficiency with
mission effectiveness.”

Two more Red Flags are
scheduled this year: one
in March and the other
during July and August.
Frederick A Johnsen
Below: RAF Voyager KC
ZZ335 lands at Nellis against
a stark Nevada desert
backdrop. The tanker-
transport was returning
in the late afternoon from
a Red Flag 18-1 mission
on February 6. Frederick A

US air power responds

to “unprovoked attack”

in Syria

Above: An F-22A receives fuel from a KC-10A during an
Operation Inherent Resolve mission over Syria on February 2.
ANG/Staff Sgt Colton Elliott
US AIR Force B-52s,
F-15Es and AC-130s were
joined by US Army AH-64s
in an effort to push back
pro-regime fighters in
eastern Syria on the night
of February 7. The US
aircraft were responding
to an “unprovoked attack”
by a battalion-sized unit
supported by artillery,
tanks and multiple rocket
launchers. US advisors
and Syrian Democratic
Forces (SDF) monitored
the pro-regime forces for
around a week before they
came under fire from up
to 30 artillery and tank
rounds. Offensive air
power was then employed
in what Lt Gen Jeffrey
Harrigian, commander
of Air Forces Central
Command, described
as self-defence.
Over a three-hour period,
US Joint Terminal Attack
Controllers co-ordinated
fires while USAF MQ-9s
and F-22s provided over-
watch. US officials at the
Combined Air Operations
Center at Al Udeid AB,
Qatar, established a

deconfliction channel
with their Russian
counterparts ahead of the
strikes. The pro-regime
advance was halted, and
the soldiers retreated
west. Around 100 fighters
were killed, including
Russian mercenaries.
In another event on
February 10, an MQ-
destroyed a T-72 tank in
eastern Syria, after it fired
on an SDF position.

Above: JASDF F-35A 89-8706 (15-5159, AX-06) during its offi cial roll-out ceremony at Misawa
on February 24. Lockheed Martin
government is considering
acquiring F-35Bs to
defend remote islands and
operate from fixed-wing
capable assault ships. If
proceeded with, Japan
could begin to introduce
the short take-off and
vertical landing (STOVL)
fighters from around Fiscal
Year 2024, perhaps as

a successor to the F-15.
Japan has already ordered
42 conventional take-off
and landing (CTOL) F-35As
to replace its F-4 fleet
and a first example was
deployed to Misawa Air
Base on January 26 (see
Japan deploys first F-35A
to Misawa, March, p29).
Under the next Medium
Term Defense Program,

due at the end of the
year, Japan is considering
purchasing 20 to 40
F-35Bs and increasing
the number of F-35As on
order. If pursued, it is
expected that the F-35Bs
would also operate from
the two Izumo-class
helicopter destroyers,
which would be modified
as aircraft carriers.

Japan eyes F-35B

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