TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (WMBB) — The sound of jets will be a bit louder than normal for the next week and a half.
Pilots took off Wednesday morning for the third day of Checkered Flag at Tyndall Air Force Base.
It’s one of the largest air-to-air exercises throughout the entire Department of Defense. These air-to-air competitions help pilots sharpen their combat tactics.
“Checkered Flag is designed to get the Immediate Reaction Forces for the DOD together and employ as a team. These are the forces that are on call 6 months to respond to anything the world the DOD feels like we need to for national defense,” Checkered Flag Exercise Director Mark Hayes said.
During Checkered Flag 60-70 aircraft to take to the skies, 30 on each side.
One side poses as the enemy forces, replicating possible threats these pilots might go up against in the real world.
“We do high-end fourth and fifth-generation tactics and integrate together as a team and provide the supporting capabilities together to be able to go against any threat in the world,” Hayes said.
65 aircraft participated in Wednesday morning’s exercise.
About a dozen squadrons with 70 aircraft and 1300 people arrived at Tyndall on Monday and will be here through next Friday.
You will see and hear F-22 Raptors F15-C’s and more.
For F-22 Raptor Pilot Captain Matthew Tromans, it’s his first time doing such a large force exercise.
“We know based on the threat out there if something were to happen it would not be just us and we would need to know how to work well with the other assets that we have,” Captain Tromans said. “So I think that’s what makes this experience so awesome because we really get to see what other people bring to the table and how to best incorporate our tactics based on how they fly with us.”
Officials said Tyndall is ideal to host Checkered Flag because of the 250 square miles of Gulf Range from Gulfport Mississippi all the way to Tampa, Florida.
“We have Special Ops participation, we have Navy participation, and just seeing everybody learning from each other learning from their strengths how they can work well together,” Hayes said.
Checkered Flag is held twice a year at Tyndall Air Force Base.