Royal Air Force Typhoon fighters, an E-3D AWACS, and Sentinel R.1 surveillance aircraft are deploying to Nellis AFB, Nev., for Exercise Red Flag later this month, RAF officials announced. Red Flag is a valuable allied large force training opportunity and “we’re taking the Typhoon and employing it in the air-air and then the air-ground role in the same sortie—we can flick between the two at a second’s notice,” RAF Wing Cdr. Mike Sutton said in a service release. The RAF is in the process of upgrading its Typhoons with ground attack weapons and Red Flag will be one of the first tactical trial runs of its swing-role capability, reported Flight Global. The RAF’s newly acquired Voyager tankers will refuel the jets approximately 13 times enroute from RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland, to Nellis, with stop-overs at Lajes Field in Portugal, Bermuda, and the East Coast, according to a Jan. 6 RAF release. Red Flag 15-1 runs from Jan. 26 to Feb. 13, according to Nellis.
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.