Saturday, July 29, 2017

Multiple Red Flag exercises canceled due to weather

Every year, Nellis Air Force Base hosts Red Flag, a training exercise that allows multiple military branches to prepare for combat. This year's exercise ran from July 10-28, and on July 26, the armed forces were ready to test two squadrons with some serious firepower.

Or at least that was the plan. Unfortunately, the rough weather made conditions too dangerous to conduct the mission.

The planes that were supposed to fly that day included the F-35A Lightning II and the F-35B Lightning II. 

The F-35A belongs to the Air Force and was designed to eventually replace their fleet of F-16 Fighting Falcons and A-10 Thunderbolt IIs. The two planes have been the branch's primary fighter aircraft for more than 20 years.

Meanwhile, the F-35B belongs to the Marines. Unlike the F-35A, this plane has short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) capabilities and is the world's first supersonic STOVL aircraft. 

In a panel held at Nellis Air Force Base on Wednesday, Col. Christian Kane, Lt. Col. Jon Snyder, Capt. Neil Fournie, and Lt. Col. Chad Vaughn all reiterated the importance of the Red Flag exercises. Several missions are conducted every day that simulates various phases of war. They allow for the military to perfect their tactics, discuss ways to improve their effectiveness and give new members a chance to test their skills in a stressful environment.

But monsoon storms have wreaked havoc in Las Vegas and forced Nellis Air Force Base to cancel multiple training missions. 

The panel on Wednesday said that high winds, heavy rain, and lightning are risky to navigate, and the lives of pilots are far more important than completing an exercise.

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