A Royal Australian Air Force No. 2 Squadron E-7A Wedgetail crew provided advanced red flag management within a multinational environment during Exercise Red Flag Alaska 21-3 in August.
CAPTION: Royal Australian Air Force No. 2 Squadron E-7A Wedgetail takes off at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska, United States. Story and photo by Flying Officer Bronwyn Marchant.
The E-7A crew utilised the aircraft’s advanced communication and surveillance systems to coordinate both fourth- and fifth-generation combat aircraft from the United States Air Force and the RAAF, operating out of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, United States.
No. 2 Squadron Detachment Commander Squadron Leader John Thornton said the E-7A Wedgetail provided long-range early detection of simulated adversary aircraft within the airspace, increasing the situational awareness of air combat operations.
“Exercise Red Flag Alaska was a bilateral exercise where we integrated different platforms from both the United States Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force,” Squadron Leader Thornton said.
“The mission profiles included both defensive and offensive counter air mission sets against a simulated adversary, to ensure we are fully integrated and can operate effectively as international partners.”
The E-7A Wedgetail significantly increases the effectiveness of all assets operating within the combat environment, an advantage which Red Flag Alaska sought to further develop in an effort to enhance the RAAF’s air combat capability.
Squadron Leader Thornton said the exercise not only strengthened the relationships and interoperability with the United States Air Force, but also provided critical training for No. 2 Squadron crews.
“The airspace in Alaska is unlike any other in the world. It allows us to test our capabilities and conduct upgrades and category assessments on our crews,” Squadron Leader Thornton said.
“The training that we achieved during the exercise is essential in ensuring that we can execute the command and control function that an airborne early warning and control platform would be expected to deliver in a real life scenario.”
Flag Alaska provided No. 2 Squadron E-7A Wedgetail pilot Flight Lieutenant Jayden Lee with essential training as he upgrades from domestic to international captaincy.
“Red Flag Alaska gave me the opportunity to conduct international training and transit, as well as experience participating in an international large-force employment exercise,” Flight Lieutenant Lee said.
“Training in Australia is fantastic, but the opportunity to travel overseas and train in a multinational exercise really develops the skill set of our personnel and ultimately what the squadron is capable of achieving.”