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Exercise Pitch Black to kick off this week

a mixed formation of a rsaf f    sqn fa  f super hornet fly a public display over mindil beach darwin
A mixed formation of a RSAF F-15, 1SQN F/A-18F Super Hornet fly a public display over Mindil Beach, Darwin as part of Pitch Black '16(Source Dept of Defence)

Exercise Pitch Black is a biennial, three-week multi-national large force employment exercise and will be held from 27 July to 17 August 2018.

Exercise Pitch Black is a biennial, three-week multi-national large force employment exercise and will be held from 27 July to 17 August 2018.

Exercises such as Pitch Black are pivotal to ensuring Air Force remains ready to respond whenever the Australian government requires. The training and integration of forces that occurs during this exercise directly supports Air Force’s ability to conduct operations.

The exercise hosts up to 4,000 personnel and up to 140 aircraft from around the globe, including participants from Australia, Canada, France (New Caledonia), Germany, Indonesia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, India, Malaysia and the US, and will include day and night flying.

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The exercise will see a variety of aircraft from the participating nations involved, including: 

  • F/A-18 A, C/D Hornets;
  • F/A-18F Super Hornets; 
  • E/A-18G Growlers; 
  • E-7A Wedgetail AEWC; 
  • Rafale E; 
  • SU 30 MKI;
  • F-16 and F-16CM;
  • B-52 Stratofortresses; 
  • KC-30A MRTT; 
  • F-15; and 
  • MV-22 Osprey.

Exercise Pitch Black features a range of realistic, simulated threats that can be found in a modern battlespace environment and is an opportunity to test and improve the RAAF's force integration, utilising one of the largest training airspace areas in the world — Bradshaw Field Training Area and Delamere Air Weapons Range.

The main focus of Pitch Black is to practice offensive counter-air (OCA) and defensive counter-air (DCA) combat in a simulated war environment. 

Exercise Pitch Black began in 1981 as an Australian only training exercise. In the early 1990s, Singapore became the first foreign participant and training partner, with the exercise expanding to include international air forces with ties to Australia.