Red Flag 2013, the high intensity air to air combat exercise has started and after months of preparations, Swedish Gripens finally took off from Nellis yesterday, reports the Air Force Blog.

On Friday, Gripens practiced the first flight in the training area and the Swedish pilots acquainted themselves with the air base, slide areas and alternate aerodromes. On Monday, Sweden participated in a 4-group and did a rotation during the first mission that involved almost 70 to 90 aircraft.

forsvarsmakten quoted Colonel Gabor Nagy, the head F 17, saying “Being offered to exercise with the best and in tough circumstances is something very valuable and the experiences we get from Red Flag is something invaluable for our capability development. My judgment is that after Libya, participating in Red Flag is one of the greatest challenges the Air Force has experienced.”

According to the Air Force Blog, the exercise will continue in the same way until Friday night. Pilots will fly for new goals, under new threats, new political rules, and additional difficulties such as radio interference.
[ppgallery id=”34″]