Exercise Desert Flag kicks off in Southwest Asia

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Kentavist P. Brackin
  • 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
The Air Force Central Command Air Warfare Center kicked off the first exercise Desert Flag, three-week long joint-flying exercise, at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, March 13.

Desert Flag, also known as IRON FALCON 16-2, is a multilateral U.S. Air Forces Central Command-led exercise held semi-annually in Southwest Asia.

The purpose of the Desert Flag is to strengthen military-to-military relationships; promote regional security; improve combined tactical air operations and enhance interoperability of forces, equipment and procedures.

“Desert Flag will be the first exercise under this name designed to improve the effectiveness of the armed forces of the host nation and partner nations in large force joint warfare here,” said Capt. Benjamin, Airlift Branch chief for the AFCENT Air Warfare Center. “It’s required a huge undertaking by the leadership of the 380th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron to minimize the impact on the combat air tasking order. They did a lot of prep work to influence operational expectations during Desert Flag, balancing the requests of the host nation and the requirements of our air tasking order from the Combined Air Operations Center.”

Among the coalition nations participating are the Royal Australian Air Force and the French Air Force.

On the U.S. side, various aircraft from the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing and USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier are supporting the exercise, along with Patriot Missile Battery support from 3rd Battalion, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment via a live simulation network.

Desert flag is also the first time a patriot simulation is being used to engage live aircraft.

“The patriot is an important piece because it’s the first time a simulation was able to seamlessly integrate in a real-time exercise with the host nation,” said Benjamin.

According to Benjamin, the overall focus of the exercise is to provide warfighters of all experience levels a complex, realistic training environment to enhance their combat effectiveness.

U.S. and coalition forces are scheduled to participate in day and night sorties throughout the exercise, rotating the roles of opposing and friendly forces.

Currently, the exercise is scheduled to conclude March 30.

Due to safety and security concerns last names were removed.