TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (WMBB) — If you’ve noticed a lot more jet sounds over the last week, there’s a good reason.
More than 60 jets took off Monday morning, into the skies above Tyndall Air Force Base.
The Department of Defense is conducting its bi-annual Checkered Flag air-to-air combat exercises at Tyndall Air Force Base. The training prepares Air Force and Navy fighter pilots for potential conflicts.
“Checkered flag is the DOD’s largest air exercise, primarily designed to train our combat-ready units for potential conflicts you may encounter,” Checkered Flag Exercise Director Major Jonathan Keranen said.
Pilots fly missions against each other, some taking the role of the aggressors.
One side acts as the United States called “blue air'” and the other side represents real-world threats as “red air.”
“From a pilot’s perspective, Checkered Flag is an amazing training opportunity, and the fact that we have access to some of the best training ranges the United States has to offer as well as some of the largest flights that people will participate in their career,” Keranen said.
Both Air Force and Navy pilots participate in the exercise flying F-22s, F-35s, F-15s, F-16s, and F-18s.
“You take your home unit training that you’ve done and you incorporate it with our joint and coalition partners all coming together as one.”
The 250 square miles of Gulf Range air space makes Tyndall Air Force Base the best place for this exercise.
“With the Gulf Coast test and training range, it offers us a very larger space where we can execute full-scale flights that we can normally not execute in our local training airspace.”
Checkered Flag will continue all week until Friday.