In July 2012 I took off for a two week trip to the USA with destination Red Flag at Nellis AFB, at the northern city limits of Las Vegas. The Red Flag 12-4 edition was scheduled from 16th-27th of July in the intense heat of the Nevada desert.
The ‘players’ of Red Flag 12-4 included all the usual suspects, such as the home based F-15s and F-16s of the 64th and 65th Aggressors squadrons, but with the addition of F-16s from the UAE, and IAI Kfirs from the Colombian Air Force. The Colombians attended at Red Flag 12-4 for the very first time, and also with a rarely seen aircraft, so the spotlight was well and truly on them, especially as this was also the first ever overseas deployment for the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana. The Colombians brought seven Kfir C.10 fighters, plus a single Kfir two-seater. The Kfirs were all from Escuadrón de Combate 111 (111 Squadron) from Palanquero Air Base in the middle of the country. Refuelling capabilities were provided by KC-137 and KC-767 tankers.
Next to the Colombian Air Force, participants of this Red Flag 12-4 were:
- 48th Fighter Wing, 493rd Fighter Squadron F-15Cs, from Royal Air Force base Lakenheath, United Kingdom
- 388th Fighter Wing, 421st Fighter Squadron F-16 CMs, from Hill AFB, Utah
- 23rd Wing, 74th Fighter Squadron A-10Cs from Moody AFB, Georgia
- 28th Bomb Wing, 34th Bomber Squadron B-1Bs, from Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota
- Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 3 EA-6Bs, from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina
- U.S. Navy Electronic Attack Squadron 209 EA-6Bs, from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland
- 53rd Wing, 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron F-16CJs from Nellis AFB, Nevada
- 53rd Wing, 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron F-16CJs from Nellis AFB, Nev.
- 552nd Air Control Wing, 964th Air Control Squadron E-3s from Tinker AFB, Okla.
- 432nd Wing, 15th Reconnaissance Squadron RQ-1s from Creech AFB, Nevada
- 92nd Air Refueling Wing, 93rd and 92nd Air Refueling Squadron KC-135s from Fairchild AFB, Washington
- United Arab Emirates Air Force, flying F-16s
Highlight of the trip was the attendance at the media day, at which we were dropped between the two runways of Nellis and from this spot we had great photo opportunities.