Now that Pacific Air Forces has wrapped up Cooperative Cope Thunder 06-3, the command’s next multi-national combat training exercise will appear as Red Flag-Alaska. Reportedly there were several variations in play for a name, including Red Flag North and Cooperative Red Flag. (And, service leaders have decided to rename the original Red Flag, traditionally hosted at Nellis AFB, Nev., as Red Flag-Nellis.) Gen. Paul Hester, head of PACAF, calls the merger of the two exercises “a real boost” for Air Force and allied training. One of the new participants this year, a contingent from the Swedish Air Force, traveled five days and 5,000 miles to participate. Lt. Col. Ken Lindberg, Swedish detachment leader, noted that his country realizes its “military needs to become more expeditionary.”
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.