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Exercise Pitch Black winds down

written by Adam Thorn | September 8, 2022

A Luftwaffe Eurofighter Typhoon taxis towards the runway with RAAF F-35s during Exercise Pitch Black (Defence, CPL Kylie Gibson)

The biggest-ever Exercise Pitch Black wrapped on Thursday, featuring 100 aircraft and 2,500 military personnel from 17 different nations.

The training program, which began on 19 August, was mostly based at RAAF Bases Darwin and Tindal in the Northern Territory.

It represented the largest international contingent in Pitch Black’s history, with Australian forces joined by counterparts from Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, UAE, the UK, and the USA.

Exercise Commander, Air Commodore Tim Alsop, lauded the partners’ swift integration.

“Australia, with multinational partner forces, uses Exercise Pitch Black to enhance our ability to work together on the planning and conduct of high-end multi-domain air operations in a real world environment,” Air Commodore Alsop said.


“By training with our international partners, we develop common standards, personal relationships, and most importantly, a level of trust that allows us to operate effectively together.

“Exercise Pitch Black provides more than just flying operations training. It’s about deepening relationships and understanding between personnel, and that’s exactly what we achieved this year.”

Air Commodore Alsop said the Top End was an ideal location for joint air domain activities.

“We couldn’t conduct this vital training without the support of the people of the Northern Territory,” he said.

“The Top End has some of the largest training airspace in the world, and it was fantastic to be able to share these training areas with our international partners.

“It’s been an honour to host all the participants this year, and we look forward to welcoming them back for the next iteration of Exercise Pitch Black in 2024.”

Australian Aviation reported last month how the RAAF and German Air Force would train together for the first time during Pitch Black.

The Luftwaffe sent six Eurofighter Typhoons, three A330 multi-role tanker transports, and an A400M.

To mark its participation, the German Air Force painted one of its Eurofighters in a special livery that included the Australian and Japanese flags.

It is hoped that Exercise Pitch Black will enable the Luftwaffe to integrate with Australia’s F-35A capabilities.

While the Eurofighter is a multi-role aircraft, the German government has confirmed that it will also acquire F-35 systems to replace its ageing Tornados.

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