On Apr. 7, 2021, the 48th Fighter Wing’s official account posted photos from еру Point Blank 21-2 exercise at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, April 7, 2021.
One of these photos also showing a pilot assigned to the 492nd Fighter Squadron with a patch featuring Russian flag colors, a silhouette of Sukhoi Su-27 fighter and text “RUSSIA”. This patch is very similar to the logo of the ex 611nd Fighter Squadron of the Russian Air Force.
However upon a closer look, though, the patch was found to be only a patch used by the F-15E Strike Eagle pilots of the 492nd Fighter Squadron “Bolars” when flying as the Aggressors in the Red Air role during complex training missions like the ones of Exercise Point Blank.
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According to The aviationist, this patch has been around for at least three years, as some copies of the patch (including some early variants which were corrected before the final version) were found in auctions on eBay and a couple of other websites in 2018.
The auctions’ descriptions stated: “492nd FS “Red Air” Flanker Aggressor patch. The term “Red Air” is used to describe the opposing fighter in air-to-air combat training. This patch is worn by aircrew flying the aircraft while using adversary tactics.” Others say it’s an “Air Policing” patch. Whatever, it’s certainly not a Russian patch.
Point Blank is a recurring large force Exercise designed and co-hosted by the Royal Air Force and the 48th Fighter Wing.
Large force exercises like Point Blank sharpen combat readiness, increase tactical proficiency and demonstrate the collective commitment to regional security, according to a recent service news release.
During exercises mobilizes more than 50 aircraft including F-15s, F-16s, KC-135s, Typhoons, Voyagers, E-3s, and F-35s.