IAF Will Take Part In Multilateral Exercise ‘Pitch Black’ In Australia
- The IAF deployed fighter aircraft for the exercise for the first time in 2018, stating that it would "provide a unique opportunity for exchange of knowledge and experience with these nations in a dynamic warfare environment."
Continuing its series of military exercises with Indo-Pacific countries, the Indian Air Force (IAF) will join 16 other nations, including Quad partner countries, later this month for Exercise Pitch Black, hosted by the Australian Air Force.
The Australian Ministry of Defence said in a statement that 100 aircraft and 2,500 military personnel from 17 nations will arrive in the Northern Territory in two weeks to begin Exercise Pitch Black 2022.
“After a four-year hiatus due to the global pandemic, this year’s exercise will see the combined force return to Australian skies, enhancing interoperability and strengthening relationships,” it added.
“International participation in Ex Pitch Black, from within the Indo-Pacific region and further abroad, provides all nations’ personnel with experience in working with aircraft, systems, and work practises, in northern Australia’s unique environment, that would otherwise be unfamiliar,” said Group Captain Peter Wood, PBK22 Director Engagement.
This year’s participants include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, India, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, the UAE, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
“We’ll have nations operating primarily from RAAF Bases Darwin and Tindal, with support from RAAF Base Amberley,” Group Captain Wood explained.
The contingent, which included 145 personnel, four Su-30MKI fighters, one C-130 and one C-17 transport aircraft, flew to Australia via Indonesia and had constructive engagements with the Indonesian and Malaysian air forces during the transit.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 edition of the exercise was cancelled at the last minute.