Lots of planespotter buzz around Eielson AFB, Alaska in the run up to Red Flag ALASKA 16-1 that begins April 28. The Indian Air Force's contingent (4 x Su-30MKI, 4 x Jaguar Darin II, 2 x Il-78M & 2 C-17 Globemaster III) that arrived on April 16 have been on routine practice runs at the base with USAF jets.
Squaring off with mostly US Air Force 354th Operational Group 'aggressor' F-16s and other support jets, the joint exercise will involve simulated interdiction, attack, air superiority, defence suppression, airlift, air refueling and reconnaissance aircraft -- all profiles the IAF has proven to be formidable at in past Red Flags/Cope India/Thunder exercises.
This will also be the second time that the IAF gets to stretch its legs in the US Department of Defense's largest airspace -- the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex (JPARC), which according to the Eielson page, contains 67,000 square miles of airspace, 11 military operating areas, and three weapons ranges.
As you know, it's been a big month for Eielson AFB, which has been chosen to be the USAF's first F-35A operational base in the Pacific Air Forces' Area of Responsibility. The first aircraft are expected to arrive in 2020.
Will have a full report up here on the exercise during and after. Enjoy these pictures by U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Turner.
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