Red Flag exercises bring fighter pilots to Nellis AFB for combat training

Military Technology

For decades, fighter pilots from all over the world have gone to Nellis Air Force Base to take part in Operation Red Flag. The aerial combat training is the closest experience pilots will get to being in real combat. Reporter Chris Crystal covers the 1977 exercises, just the third year the event was at Nellis. Aired on Jan. 13, 1977, on KLAS TV in Las Vegas.


Between 60 and 80 aircraft from Air Force, Navy and Marine bases around the country have come to Nellis Air Force Base for Operation Red Flag. There are between 800 and 1,000 servicemen involved in the exercises.

The program aims to get all tactical air crews through the exercises as frequently as every 1 to 1 ½ years. The exercises involve all facets of tactical air warfare, simulating real combat as close as possible.

This edition marked the third time Red Flag was conducted at Nellis.

Three F-105s are among the aircraft at Nellis for Operation Red Flag. The planes are equipped with Gatling guns that fire 6,000 cannon shells a minute.

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