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317th AW participates in Red Flag Alaska 23-1

  • Published
  • By (Courtesy article)
  • 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

The 317th Airlift Wing sent four C-130J Super Hercules to participate in Red Flag Alaska 23-1 from Oct 6–21, 2022, and accomplished the Mobility Air Force’s first validation exercise in the Air Force’s new Force Generation (AFFORGEN) cycle.

“For us, Large Force Exercises like Red Flag Alaska provide crucial training and an opportunity to highlight strengths and deficiencies within our current crew force,” said Lt. Col. Samuel Dunlap, 40th Airlift Squadron commander. “This exercise was a test of joint and NATO interoperability in a simulated air war with real Command and Control, Strike, and Escort assets as well as a AFFORGEN validation event to provide Air Mobility Command with a tactical airlift unit ready for deployment”.

The AFFORGEN model has four phases a unit will transition through leading up to a deployment. Starting in the “Reset” phase, reintegration and reconstitution focus on a unit’s resiliency.

Next, a unit will move to the “Prepare” phase and participate in local and off-station training focusing heavily on integration with joint partners. This phase culminates in a validation exercise like Red Flag Alaska.

Once a unit has been validated, they will enter the “Ready” phase and will finalize their last remaining readiness requirements.

Finally, a unit will enter the “Available” phase, this provides AMC and Global Combatant Commanders a unit that is world-wide deployable.

“Our aircrew got a unique experience while participating in Red Flag Alaska,” said Maj. David Mackintosh, 40th Airlift Squadron Director of Operations. “The fighter integration piece alone was a crucial aspect of furthering the capabilities of C-130J aircrew in preparation for a near-peer conflict.”

Red Flag Alaska saw participation from multiple international units such as the No. 40 Squadron from the Royal New Zealand Air Force and the No. 47 Squadron from the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force C-130s, as well as NATO’s E-3A Airborne Warning and Control System.

All Red Flag Alaska participants are divided into ‘Red’ defensive forces and ‘Blue’ offensive forces, while the ‘White’ forces represent the neutral controlling agency.

The ‘Red’ team includes ground-control intercept and surface air defense forces to simulate threats posed by potentially hostile nations. The ‘Blue’ team is a full spectrum of U.S. and allied tactical and support units to fight against any threats. ‘White’ ensures operations are conducted safely.

During this iteration of the exercise, approximately 1,000 service members flew, maintained, and supported more than 40 aircraft from over 15 units, all while exchanging tactics, techniques, and procedures aimed at improving interoperability between U.S. and allied partners.