Why Are F-22 Raptors Patrolling Las Vegas?

Illustration for article titled Why Are F-22 Raptors Patrolling Las Vegas?

The skies above Las Vegas, Nevada have been packed with military aircraft over the last week. It's not another reboot of Red Dawn, mind you, but rather the second round of the Red Flag war games held at Nellis Air Force Base. Check out these sweet shots of the F-22 Raptor—America's first stealth fighter—staying sharp in case the Q-313 ever gets off the ground.

The F-22 Raptors are part of the 1st FW from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. They've come to Nellis Air Force Base, one of the largest fighter bases in the world, as part of Red Flag 13-3, an air-to-air combat training exercise involving the US and many allied countries. The Nellis AFB website explains,

Red Flag was established in 1975 as one of the initiatives directed by General Robert J. Dixon, then commander of Tactical Air Command, to better prepare our forces for combat. Tasked to plan and control this training, the 414th Combat Training Squadron's mission is to maximize the combat readiness, capability and survivability of participating units by providing realistic training in a combined air, ground, space and electronic threat environment while providing for a free exchange of ideas between forces.


The exercise splits forces into red and blue teams—the blue team is the aggressor, attempting to complete air interdiction, combat SAR, close air support, and defensive counter air missions against a variety of mock targets—from airfields to missile silos—while the Reds defend. This allows flight crews from participating nations not just the opportunity to hone their skills and gain valuable combat experiences sans live ammunition, they are also able to devise new and unique strategies utilizing a wide array of allied war machines. Given the strong shift away from unilateral action, such coalition missions are becoming more common. Check out the full video below:

[Live Leak via The Aviationist]

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Wilford Brimley

I used to live near Nellis, and red flag was a giant pain in the ass. I had to fall asleep with earplugs. Fortunately I moved to a different part of town, and most people in Vegas don't even realize red flag is going on, and most probably don't even know what red flag is.