No Krasni Flag

Russia won’t be participating in an Air Force Red Flag exercise this year, according to an exercise spokesman at Eielson AFB, Alaska. What? Russia at Red Flag? Several media outlets—including the Voice of Russia radio network’s English-language website—ran stories last week suggesting Russia would indeed be sending fighters to a Red Flag exercise in October, either at Nellis AFB, Nev., or in Alaska. This would be an extraordinary first if true, and a watershed development in US-Russian relations. But, alas, no red-starred Flankers and Fulcrums will be populating the ramps at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Eielson, or anywhere else. Air Force officials told the Daily Report on July 6 that Russia had requested sending observers—not aircraft—to a Red Flag exercise this fall, but it won’t be happening. While it would have been interesting to see those Sukhoi and MiG fighters at Red Flag—playing Red Air, perhapsmodern Russian-designed fighters have already played in a Red Flag. In 2008, India brought its Su-30s MKI fighters to Nellis.