From 19 August until 8 September, 16 nations are participating alongside Australia in Exercise Pitch Black in an effort to enhance interoperability and develop strong relationships between participating military forces.
CAPTION: United States Air Force F-15C Eagles from Kadena Air Force Base in Japan arrive in Darwin for Exercise Pitch Black 22. Photo by Sergeant Pete Gammie.
This year, more than 100 aircraft and 2500 personnel from Australia, France, Germany, Canada, Indonesia, India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, United States, United Kingdom, Republic of Korea, New Caledonia, Philippines and the Netherlands are taking part.
Exercise Commander Air Commodore Tim Alsop said the return of Exercise Pitch Black marked an excellent opportunity to strengthen partnerships and to promote regional stability.
“With 17 nations participating, Exercise Pitch Black will allow the RAAF to work with our allies and partners, sharing tactics and procedures that will enhance interoperability between our forces,” Air Commodore Alsop said.
“Several countries are participating in Pitch Black for the first time, and we welcome them to the exercise and the magnificent Northern Territory.
“Activities such as Exercise Pitch Black recognise Australia’s strong relationships and the high value placed on regional security and fostering close ties throughout the Indo-Pacific.
“Pitch Black is a large-force-employment exercise, driven by fighter-combat scenarios.”
Air Commodore Alsop said this year, significant efforts had been made to advance the air-to-air refuelling capability between many of the participating nations.
“Air-to-air refuelling is a force multiplier, providing essential reach to our combat aircraft.
“Working with participating nations aims to increase our force projection and maximise our capability.”
Air Commodore Alsop welcomed all the international participants to the Top End and thanked the Northern Territory community for their continued support and interest.
“Exercise Pitch Black will include day and night flying and Defence is working to minimise the impact on the local community and the environment,” he said.
The exercise will run in the Northern Territory with forces primarily based at RAAF Base Darwin and RAAF Base Tindal, with supporting elements from RAAF Base Amberley.