German Eurofighters earlier this month flew in Red Flag-Alaska 12-2 from Eielson AFB, Alaska. Not only was this the first overseas deployment of Germany’s newest fighters, it was also their first participation in a US exercise, according to an Eielson release. During RF-A, the Germans pilots and machines were pitted against the F-16s of Eielson’s 18th Aggressor Squadron. “We have some really experienced pilots, but this is a huge challenge for most of them—it’s the first time they’ve done something like this,” said German air force Col. Andreas Pfeiffer in Eielson’s June 21 release. “There is no other training partner like the Aggressors,” he added. The eight Eurofighters, based at Neuburg AB, Germany, arrived in Alaska in May to participate in Exercise Distant Frontier as preparation for Red Flag. “If you put all of the factors together, this is probably the highest quality training you could possibly get in modern air combat,” said Pfeiffer. RF-A 12-2 lasted from June 7 to June 22. (Eielson report by A1C Zachary Perras)
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.