B-2 Bombers, F-22s and F-35 Fighters are Training for War Together Right Now

Red Flag 24-1 B-2 Stealth Bombers
January 18, 2024 Topic: Security Region: Americas Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: B-2 BombersF-22 RaptorF-35DefenseMilitary

B-2 Bombers, F-22s and F-35 Fighters are Training for War Together Right Now

After being grounded for the first half of last year, the United States Air Forces B-2 Spirits were back in the sky and took part in the first Red Flag exercise of 2024, which began this week at Nellis Air Force Base (AFB), Nevada.

B-2 Spirit Bombers, F-35 Lightning IIs and Eurofighter Typhoon Fighters Taking Part in Red Flag 24-1 - After being grounded for the first half of last year, the United States Air Forces B-2 Spirits were back in the sky and took part in the first Red Flag exercise of 2024, which began this week at Nellis Air Force Base (AFB), Nevada. Even more impressive was that the ongoing exercise that will incorporate realistic, high-end combat scenarios through Jan. 26, will incorporate some of the most capable and advanced aircraft in service today.

According to media reports, the B-2s will fly alongside U.S. Air Force F-35 Lightning IIs, U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors, Royal Air Force FGR-4 Typhoon fighters, Royal Australian Air Force F-35As, and U.S. Navy EA-18G Growlers.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Air Force shared images of a pair of B-2 Spirits as they took flight as part of Red Flag 24-1. It is the annual exercise organized at Nellis AFB and hosted on the Nevada Test and Training Range, the U.S. Air Force's premier military training area with more than 12,000 square miles of airspace and 2.9 million acres of land.

Numerous videos from this week's event have already made the rounds on social media – and we're not even at the halfway point yet. With more than a week ago, things could get truly exciting in the skies around Nellis.

As the sports media site OutKick reported, "As you'd expect, having massive bombers and fighter jets converge on one area to train for war looks pretty damn cool. The skies look like a scene out of 'Top Gun,' but Tom Cruise isn't up there. It's actual American heroes and our allies preparing for war. Notice how it focuses on the Indo-Pacific Theater," while it added, "If those videos don't send a chill down your spine, then it might be time to move to North Korea. As a patriot, I'm ready to run through a wall right now."

Red Flag 24-1: Top Guns Indeed

According to the United States Air Force, more than 30 units from across the U.S. Department of Defense, the Royal Air Force, and the Royal Australian Air Force have converged at Nellis for Red Flag 24-1. The 414th Combat Training Squadron conducts Red Flag exercises to provide aircrews the experience of multiple, intensive air combat sorties in the safety of a training environment. This iteration of Red Flag was also meant to provide unique training with an emphasis on readiness for high-end warfighting and strategic competition.

B-2 Bomber

"Training prioritizes first timer’s combat missions, mission commander upgrades, integration and flag unique experiences that contribute most to readiness and partnering," said Col. Eric Winterbottom, 414th CTS commander.

Aligning with the 2022 National Defense Strategy, Red Flag 24-1 will focus on the Indo-Pacific Theater and combating the pacing challenge alongside our allies and partners. It further aims to improve collaboration and interoperability among joint and interagency partners, contributing to the operational effectiveness of the United States military and those of its allies and partners.

"Participants will engage the 57th Wing's professional aggressors, integrate with coalition core function forces, and learn keeping faith with Airman through personnel recovery operations," added Winterbottom, who stressed that such training remains critical to enabling Airmen to function independently making the mission more resilient and survivable.

"Participants will lead and learn in the world’s best combat debrief, while writing the next chapter of the Red Flag’s heritage," said Winterbottom.

The 414th CTS hosts Red Flag with a mission to maximize the combat readiness, capability, survivability, and interoperability of participating units. They provide realistic, multi-domain training in a combined air, ground, space, and electronic threat environment while providing opportunities for a free exchange of ideas between forces.

A Show Of Force: B-2 Bombers, F-35 and F-22 Raptors 

According to a report from Air & Spaces Forces magazine, nearly 100 aircraft are expected to depart Nellis AFB twice per day, with some of them staying airborne for up to five hours. The training will also include night launches taking place to simulate nighttime combat operations.

"Missions are conducted to the nearby Nevada Test and Training Range, and further to the southwest of the United States where we can integrate with maritime units," explained Wing Commander Adrian Kiely, commanding officer of the RAAF's No. 3 Squadron.

This marks the first time Australian F-35As had participated in Exercise Red Flag Nellis.

F-35A Stealth Fighter U.S. Air Force

"Exercise Red Flag Nellis will test every facet of our F-35A capability, allow us to integrate with our American and British allies, and practice how we project force on combat operations," added Kiely.

Given the number of aircraft involved, it is truly a multi-billion showcase of Western airpower.

Author Experience and Expertise: Peter Suciu

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu. You can email the author: [email protected].

All images are from U.S. Government.