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Nellis AFB Launches New Air Force Operational Test Event; Col. Ryan Messer Quoted

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The 53rd Wing has consolidated its series of large-scale tests into a new event called the “Black Flag” at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, the AirForceTimes reported on Monday. 

Black Flag is being designed to build capability for the Air Force and act as the equivalent to the service branch’s “Red Flag” training exercise testing that builds readiness. 

“Black Flag is essential to national defense,” said Col. Ryan Messer, 53rd Wing commander. “Instituting a Flag-level exercise is the result of both the dedication of professionals in the 53rd Wing and also the support of senior leaders who acknowledge the importance of, and are investing in, testing like we fight.”

Air Combat Command (ACC) head Gen. Mark Kelly said the Black Flag testing will allow Combat Air Forces to discover new capabilities and ways for fighters, bombers, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance aircrafts to collaborate effectively by focusing on  operational test and tactics development that accurately simulates massed forces in a high-threat environment. 

“Black Flag accelerates months of work and combines it into a high-end, large force testing event,” Kelly said. “Because combat is large force employment, the test must also include large force employment.”