The German Air Force, known as the Luftwaffe, will participate in Exercise Pitch Black for the first time.
CAPTION: Chief of the German Air Force Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz. Story by Flight Lieutenants Jessica Aldred and Steve Reutter.
Travelling to Australia as part of the Rapid Pacific deployment, the Luftwaffe will arrive in mid-August with more than 200 personnel, six Eurofighter Typhoons, three A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transports and an A400M transport aircraft.
Chief of the German Air Force Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz said this is the first time the German and Australian air forces have trained together.
“The Indo-Pacific is of great importance to Germany. We share the same values with many partners in this region,” Lieutenant General Gerhartz said.
“Defending those values in case of a war emergency and being able to support our partners is something that needs to be practised.”
The German Eurofighter is a multi-role aircraft employed in air-to-air as well as air-to-ground combat – both at close range and from a long distance.
The German Air Force with its Eurofighters also assumes responsibility in Europe and within NATO for securing the airspace – this includes the quick reaction alert element in Estonia, and working closely with Italian and UK air forces in Romania.
The German government has recently agreed to procure F-35 aircraft to replace the Tornado weapon system, with Pitch Black providing an opportunity to integrate more closely with Australia’s F-35A.
“The F-35 aircraft will further expand the broad spectrum of our capabilities. Since the Royal Australian Air Force is already flying this combat aircraft, we will be able to learn from them as well,” Lieutenant General Gerhartz said.
Following Exercise Pitch Black, the Luftwaffe will participate in Exercise Kakadu before continuing their Rapid Pacific deployment to Japan and the Republic of Korea.
Lieutenant General Gerhartz will fly himself in a Eurofighter during Exercises Pitch Black and Kakadu, through to Japan following the exercises.