Russian surface-to-air missile systems took part in recent U.S. Air Force exercise

Russian-developed SA-8 “Gecko” and SA-13 “Gopher” surface-to-air missile systems took part in the recent U.S. Air Force exercise in Alaska.

The surface-to-air missile systems sit in the Yukon Training Area near Eielson Air Force Base during a large-scale field training exercise, called RED FLAG-Alaska. RF-A is an annual U.S. Pacific Air Forces-directed field training exercise that enables U.S. and international partners to develop and improve combined interoperability through safe and effective mission planning and execution.

The Soviet-era SA-8 “Gecko” and SA-13 “Gopher” systems on the ground are used to replicate various threats for aircraft participating in RED FLAG-Alaska and are essential to ensuring a realistic training experience and enhancing overall readiness for the aircrew.

Combining the air and land territories allows for some of the most comprehensive, realistic training scenarios in the world.

All participants will leave RED FLAG-Alaska better prepared to respond to real-world threats in the ever-changing landscape of modern warfare.

In addition to the U.S., service members from the U.K. Royal Air Force (RAF), Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), and Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) are scheduled to participate, enabling them to exchange tactics, techniques and procedures while improving interoperability with fellow airmen. The majority of aircraft will be based at, and fly from, Eielson Air Force Base and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

A SA-8 Surface-to-Air missile system sits in the Yukon Training Area near Eielson Air Force Base. Photo by Senior Airman Isaac Johnson

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