Exercise Pitch Black 2018, a biennial multi-national large force employment warfare exercise, was hosted by Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) from July 24, 2018 to Aug 18, 2018 in Darwin, Australia.
It was the largest Pitch Black Exercise ever conducted by Australia, which saw participation of 16 nations and more than 140 aircraft.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) contingent consisted of 145 personnel, including four Sukhoi Su-30 MKIs, an Ilyushin tanker, an Ilyushin Il-78 tanker, a Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Super Hercules, and a Boeing C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft.
The contingent assembled at Air Force Station Kalaikunda and departed for the exercise on July 19, 2018 from India to Australia via Indonesia. The contingent was led by Group Captain CUV Rao.
This was the first time that an Indian Air Force contingent participated in this multinational air exercise in Australia. Indian Air Force had earlier participated in the exercise as observer and this was for the first time that Indian Air Force participated with air assets.
India joined 4000 other military personnel and 140 aircraft from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and the United States.
• Various day and night operations were undertaken by the IAF and for the first time, SU-30MKI aircraft carried out Air to Air Refueling with KC-30A of the Royal Australian Air Force.
• The KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport is a modified Airbus A330 airliner that is used by RAAF to conduct air-to-air refueling and provide strategic airlift.
• It included exchange sorties flown by IAF pilots flying in Rafale & RAAF F/A-18 (Hornets) and RAAF crew and French Crew flying in SU-30MKI. IAF C-130J crew got a unique opportunity to fly in RAAF C130J aircraft.
• Certain maiden operations were undertaken by the IAF during the exercise included IAF Commandos, Garuds and Para Jump Instructors jumping from C-27J Spartan in a foreign country; and Container Delivery System (CDS) drop by C-130 J.
• During the exercise, IAF maintenance crew ensured 100 percent serviceability of all the assets, thus, ensuring complete participation of the forces in the exercise.
Exercise Pitch Black
• The Exercise Pitch Black is a multinational exercise hosted by Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
• Exercise Pitch Black began in 1981 and has expanded gradually to become the hemisphere’s largest air force training exercise.
• The exercise involves over 100 aircraft from around the globe and provides a unique opportunity to the air-warriors to operate in a dynamic warlike environment.
• The exercise features a range of realistic, simulated threats which can be found in a modern battle-space environment and is an opportunity to test and improve force integration.
• The main focus of Pitch Black is to practice Offensive Counter-Air (OCA) and defensive Counter-Air (DCA) combat.
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