F-16 fighters fly in formation before landing.

Starting today, airmen with the Pacific Air Forces will be participating in Red Flag-Alaska 20-3, the third of four military exercises scheduled for 2020. The exercise, which will run through Aug. 16, is designed to “provide realistic training in a simulated combat environment, with primary flight operations over the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex,” according to an Air Force news release. 

The majority of aircraft involved will be based at, and fly from, Eielson Air Force Base and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

The first of this year’s Red Flag exercises was due to take place April 30 to May 15 at Eielson Air Force Base and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson but was canceled due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. The second, scheduled for June 11-26, also was canceled. 

“Despite COVID-19 restrictions, airmen participating in Red Flag-Alaska are ready and postured to support the U.S. commitment to the security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region,” the release states. “Service members are expected to fly, maintain and support aircraft from various units during this iteration of the exercise.”

The fourth exercise of 2020 is scheduled for Oct. 8-23.

Red Flag-Alaska dates back to 1975 when it was held at Clark Air Base in the Philippines and called exercise Cope Thunder.  

Contact staff writer Alistair Gardiner at 459-7575. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMoutdoors.