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Liberty Wing and RAF participate in Red Diamond exercise
ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- An F-15E Strike Eagle from the 48th Fighter Wing flies over the North Sea after an aerial refueling during an exercise Dec. 13, 2012. The Liberty Wing recently teamed up with the Royal Air Force for the exercise to prepare the 492nd Fighter Squadron for Red Flag -- Nellis in 2013, which is an exercise that provides a peacetime "battlefield" for combat air forces to train. (Courtesy photo)
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Liberty Wing and RAF participate in Red Diamond exercise

Posted 12/21/2012   Updated 12/21/2012 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st class Dana Butler
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

12/21/2012 - ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England  -- The Liberty Wing teamed up with the Royal Air Force for exercise Red Diamond Dec. 4-6 and 10-13 over eastern England and the North Sea.

Red Diamond is practice for an even larger exercise called Red Flag, which is one of the most intense and realistic Air Force combat trainings available worldwide.

"For the day-to-day training, we can't get anywhere near what Red Flag can provide, such as the numbers of aircraft in the same piece of sky and the same amount of people talking on the radio," said Maj. John DeLion, Operations Support Squadron wing weapons officer. "The fog of war that they simulate at Nellis Air Force Base -- we can't get that just in our own 48th Fighter Wing day-to-day training."

Aircraft participating in the exercise included Eurofighter Typhoons, the E3 Sentry, F-15E Strike Eagles and F-15C Eagles from the Liberty Wing as well as other aircraft. Controllers from RAF Scampton also participated in the exercise.

"By working with the RAF, we maximize our capabilities," said DeLion. "Anytime you have that many different aircraft in the same piece of sky, everyone needs to be on the same page, not just for execution and getting good training, but for safety in general."

During the exercise the Strike Eagles from the Liberty Wing executed a live maritime strike.

"It was a huge success!" DeLion said. "The RAF set up a lot of the coordination. We got to validate tactics, techniques and procedures to make sure they were on par with what we have been told by the tactics evaluation committee."

Master Sgt. Eric West, 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron lead production superintendent, said the aircraft fired 1,530 rounds a day with a zero-percent failure rate.

"We fire up the guns infrequently around here, but whenever we do fire them, we all get excited and glad to hear it went successfully," said West. "It's a coordinated effort between weapons, ops and ammo."

The 48th Fighter Wing has the benefit of training closely with the RAF in exercises such as Red Diamond.

"This is the third exercise we've done this year with the RAF to this extent," said DeLion. "I hope we keep moving in this direction and continue having this awesome interaction with the RAF."

"Absolute hats off to the RAF for putting this exercise together and inviting us, the 48th Fighter Wing, and especially the aircrew who all got outstanding training," DeLion added.

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