The skies over the Top End have filled with aircraft from across the world for the return of Exercise Pitch Black.
From today until 8 September, 16 nations will participate alongside Australia in Exercise Pitch Black in an effort to enhance interoperability and develop strong relationships between participating military forces.
This year over 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 Netherlands will take part.
Exercise Commander Air Commodore (AIRCDRE) 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.
“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. This year, significant efforts have been made to advance the air to air refuelling capability between many of the participating nations,” AIRCDRE Alsop said.
“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.”
“We would like to thank the Northern Territory community for their continued support and interest in Exercise Pitch Black and to welcome all the international participants to the Top End.”
The exercise will include day and night flying and Defence is working to minimise the impact on the local community and the environment.
The exercise will run in the Northern Territory with forces primarily based at RAAF Base Darwin and RAAF Base Tindal and supporting elements at RAAF Base Amberley.