Air Combat Command today entered the F-22A stealth fighter in its first Red Flag exercise, the first one of 2007 and dubbed “Colonial Flag.” This four-week Red Flag exercise comprises more than 200 aircraft—B-1B, B-2, F-15E, F-22, F-117, and British Tornado and Australian F-111—and some 5,200 military personnel. Exercise team chief, Capt. James Govin of the 414th Combat Training Squadron at Nellis AFB, Nev., said the Raptor would serve primarily in an air-to-air role but would demonstrate some of its air-to-ground capability. The exercise concludes in mid-February, taking a one week break midway to rotate aircraft and crews in and out.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.