The RAAF’s Major Multinational Large-Force Employment Exercise Begins


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The RAAF’s major multinational large-force employment exercise, Pitch Black, is under way.

Up to 115 aircraft and 2,500 personnel from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand and the US are participating in the three-week long Exercise Pitch Black 2016, which officially began on July 29 and continues through to August 19. Flying operations began on Monday with aircraft operating out of RAAF Bases Darwin and Tindal in the Northern Territory to utilise the Northern Territory’s vast Delamere Range Facility and Bradshaw Field Training Area.

Major exercises such as Pitch Black are essential in ensuring Air Force remains ready to respond whenever the Australian Government requires Air Commodore Christopher Sawade, Head of Special Events, said.

Fast jets participating in Pitch Black include Thai and Indonesian F-16As, Singaporean F-15SGs and F-16Ds and RAAF Hornets and Super Hornets. Transport aircraft include Canadian and USMC KC-130 Hercules tankers, a Royal Thai Air Force C-130H Hercules and a New Caledonian-based French air force CN-235, as well the RAAF’s KC-30A tanker transport.

The general public can get a taste of Pitch Black with an aircraft handling display over Darwin’s Mindil Beach on Thursday August 11 and an open day at RAAF Base Darwin on Saturday August 13. There is also a publicly accessible viewing area located off Amy Johnson Avenue on the eastern side of RAAF Base Darwin.