An Airman assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., walks across a B-2 Spirit at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada last Friday. Photo by Dylan Murakami/U.S. Air Force
Jan. 26 (UPI) -- The U.S. Air Force began exercise Red Flag 21-1 this week in southern Nevada.
Red Flag 21-1, which is one of the Air Force's largest combat training exercises, started Monday and continues through Feb. 12, according to the Air Force.
"Red Flag is aligned with our National Defense Strategy in support of the United States Air Force Warfare Center's great power competition priority," Col. William Reese, 414th CTS commander, said in a press release.
"We expanded the fight airspace, unleashed our aggressor forces to challenge the training audience's plan and punish their mistakes, and made it significantly more difficult to achieve desired effects on surface targets," Reese said.
This year's exercise will host about 2,400 participants from nearly 20 states, three countries and several sister services.
Involved aircraft will include the F-22 Raptor, F-35 Lightning II, F-16 Fighting Falcon, EA-18G Growler, F-15E Strike Eagle and A-10 Thunderbolt II.
The 509th Bomb Wing will take the lead wing position, and the B-1B Lancer and B-2 Spirit will integrate into the training, the Air Force said.
"This Red Flag is a much better training opportunity and will galvanize our coalition force readiness to meet any high-end threat," Reese said.
The exercise is intended to provide multi-domain training in a combined air, ground, space and electronic threat environment while providing opportunity for "a free exchange of ideas between forces."
"Red Flag gives participating units with different mission sets an opportunity to train together during a large-force, joint interoperability live-fly exercise," said Senior Master Sgt. Michael Consigny, 414th CTS superintendent.
"This experience provides our Combat Air Forces combat-ready squadrons that are prepared to integrate down range for today's fight or any future near-peer conflict," Consigny said.