F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Dominates the Air Force’s Red Flag
That test was Red Flag, the Air Force’s annual, weeks-long, all-hands-on-deck, multinational shakedown of military aviation technology. In the skies over the Nevada desert, drones run recon drills. Electronic-warfare planes jam signals and hunt enemies. Cargo aircraft move crews and supplies in and out of Nellis Air Force Base, outside Las Vegas. Fighter jets on the “blue” team face off against the “Red” forces—specially trained aggressor squadrons that mimic the real-world tactics of US adversaries.
Over 110 sorties, the fleet of 13 F-35A jets (the Air Force-dedicated version of the fighter) posted a simulated kill ratio of 15:1, according to Aviation Week, meaning only one blue aircraft was shot down for every 15 reds the F-35 threw to the ground.