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RNZAF Hercules and Crew Return to USAF Exercise in Alaska

The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) is testing its ability to operate in austere environments by returning to an annual United States Air Force exercise in the skies above Alaska this month.

12 October, 2022

RNZAF No. 40 Squadron personnel and their C-130H Hercules are attending Exercise Red Flag-Alaska 23-1, which is being held at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, just outside of Anchorage.

The exercise is designed to develop crews’ proficiency in conducting advanced tactical flying missions in austere environments in preparation for operations.

“Exercise Red Flag aims to maximise combat readiness, capability and survivability by providing aircrews with realistic training in a combined air and ground threat environment,” said Detachment Commander Squadron Leader Kendall Dooley.

Training will include threat evasion, airdrops, landing and taking off from semi-prepared strips, escort co-ordination, air combat and Airborne Early Warning and Control integration.

It is the first time since 2018 that the RNZAF has been able to attend the exercise because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s great to be back working with our partners on high-quality training. It really helps increase our readiness and response capabilities. The training also helps us build interoperability and execute complex and realistic operations with our military partners,” Squadron Leader Dooley said.

7455328 Ex Red Flag Photo 3 Ex Red Flag Photo 4

Photos supplied by U.S. Air Force, Airman 1st Class Julia Lebens.