Exercise Pitch Black 24 – biggest ever

Australia’s biggest international air combat training activity – Exercise Pitch Black – will begin tomorrow, 12 July and run until 2 August.

CAPTION: Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare, or AM) Eurofighter Typhoons taxi at RAAF Base Darwin, followed by an AM KC-767A tanker transport, on arrival for Exercise Pitch Black 24. Photo by Flight Lieutenant Claire Campbell.

This year will be the largest in the exercise’s 43-year history, bringing together more than 140 aircraft from around the world, with approximately 4435 personnel from 20 participating nations.

The exercise will also support a concurrent International Observer Group program in order to provide an opportunity for foreign forces to gain an appreciation of how Australia prepares for, and executes major activities.

For the first time, aircraft and personnel from Philippines, Spain, Italy, and Papua New Guinea and embedded personnel from Fiji and Brunei will participate in the exercise.

In addition, aircraft from France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States; and embedded personnel from Canada and New Zealand will also participate.

Aircraft will operate from RAAF bases Darwin and Tindal in the Northern Territory, with additional tanker and transport aircraft at RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland.

Exercise Pitch Black is the Royal Australian Air Force’s most significant flying activity for strengthening international engagement and enhancing its ability to work with overseas partners.

Held every two years, Exercise Pitch Black focuses on large-force air-power-employment missions involving large numbers of international aircraft.

The exercise enhances RAAF’s responsiveness should the Australian government require air-combat capabilities.

For international participants, there is significant benefit to participating in Exercise Pitch Black, as it provides experience in how to deploy air-combat assets and support personnel over great distances.

Once they arrive, international participants conduct force integration with other nations and their capabilities as they work first hand with peer or near-peer air forces.

Exercise Pitch Black provides an environment for training and integration that directly supports international-participants’ training requirements and their ability to support operations in the Indo-Pacific.

At the individual level, the exercise builds strong relationships between Australian aviators and personnel from across the Indo-Pacific region, and further abroad in Europe.

It recognises Australia’s strong relationships with other nations, and reinforces the value placed on regional security and fostering closer ties throughout the Indo-Pacific region and around the world.

Exercise Pitch Black 24 involves some of the most advanced air-combat capabilities in the world, flown and supported by a highly-skilled workforce in a challenging training environment.









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Posted by Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

One thought on “Exercise Pitch Black 24 – biggest ever

  • 14/07/2024 at 1:44 pm

    In WW2, Japan repeatedly attacked Darwin; RTAAF crews valiantly flew up to oppose them – good men but in inferior aircraft who were sent on an impossible mission against a well trained, well equipped and determined enemy.
    Thankfully, of all the 3 Services, the RAAF have not forgotten this experience, have learned much from it and are now our most professional, best equipped and arguably most combat-ready part of the ADF.
    Pitch Black helps to give me hope that future conflict in this region will be marked by success against adversity, with the outcome determined – not by a nation alone – but by a combination of many nations – all fighting for the cause of democracy and the freedoms that it brings.
    Wish them all well for a great and safe exercise.
    Salute all involved, from the top guns of the air to the refuellers and aircraft maintainers.
    Every role fulfilled is an important and vital one!


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