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March 31, 2011
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FLTLT Mark Saurins, a C-130
captain, said the exercise area fea-
tured ground radar threats and simu-
lated surface-to-air missiles.
"There were enemy fighters
attempting to break through our
escorts to shoot us down," he said.
Often the Hercules deliberately
flew into threat areas to practise their
response to these threats.
Night-vision equipment was
essential during the night sorties. For
all missions, an extra crewperson
looked for threats visually through a
perspex dome installed in the flight-
deck overhead escape hatch.
Before the aircraft reached its
objective, personnel from 4SQN and
2 Commando Regiment conducted
reconnaissance on airfields to ensure
they were safe for the Hercules.
Touching down on dirt airstrips,
the C-130s would offload or take on
board troops, depending on the mis-
If there were no suitable landing
strips, the mission would be to air-
drop cargo or paratroops, with 'ter-
minal control' again being provided
by 4SQN on the ground.
See the next edition of Air Force News
for more stories and photos from
Exercise Red Flag.
COMING: A 37SQN C-130H returns from a training
mission over the Nevada Test and Training Range
during Red Flag. Photo: Senior Airman Brett Clashman, USAF
GOING: Inset, a USAF F-16C fighter takes off.
Photo: Eamon Hamilton
Learning from the past
VISITORS to Nellis Air Force Base can
see the world's most unlikely Petting
The Threat Training Facility (TTF)
at Nellis is a collection of equipment
captured or handed over to the US mili-
tary over the past 60 years.
It's jokingly called the Petting Zoo
by the US Air Force -- a place where
military personnel can see and learn
more about the equipment they would
face on the battlefield.
It includes an example of every
Soviet Main Battle Tank produced since
WWII, armoured personnel carriers,
and deployed radar antennae.
Almost every ground-borne threat
an aircrew can face is displayed, from
12.7mm heavy machine guns through to
'Flying Telegraph Pole' SA-2 surface-
The collection includes MiG-23 and
MiG-29 fighters, an Mi-14 Haze naval
helicopter, and an Iraqi Air Force Mi-24
Hind helicopter captured during the
1991 Gulf War.
Far from being an assortment of
trophy pieces, the TTF is an important
part of educating military personnel at
Visitors are briefed on the strengths
and weaknesses of each item by a rep-
resentative of the US Department of
The opportunity to see, touch, and
ask questions is important for many
personnel whose only experience with
this equipment is on computer screens
and reference books.
3QN F/A-18 pilot FLTLT Sean
Hamilton was part of Red Flag 11-3's
Combined Air Operations Centre, and
toured the TTF.
"It was the first time I'd seen most
of these threats actually in the flesh,"
FLTLT Hamilton said.
"It was good to see how big some
of these missiles actually were -- once
you've seen them, you get some idea of
what you're actually looking for.
"You also get some appreciation
for the conditions that the operators of
these missiles and vehicles are operat-
ing in -- some of their stations are very
EYE-OPENER: Above, FLTLT Sean
Hamilton and FLGOFF Jason Cross, both
3SQN F/A-18 pilots, in front of an SA-8
Gecko surface-to-air missile system. Right, a
US Navy LEUT explains the workings of the
MIM-23 Hawk surface-to-air missile system.
Photos: Eamon Hamilton
realistic environment and see
how force integration works.
-- ACO FLTLT Nathan Broome
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