An Indian Air Force contingent comprising of four Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft on July 24, 2018 landed at Darwin Air Force Base, Australia for participating in the Exercise Pitch Black-2018.
The Indian Air Force contingent consists 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 will undertake simulated air combat exercises in a controlled environment.
The three-week exercise will take place from July 27 to August 17, 2018.
This is the first time that an Indian Air Force contingent is participating in this multinational air exercise in Australia.
India, for the first time, will join 4000 other military personnel and 140 aircraft from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and the United States.
• As part of military diplomacy and to reassure India’s commitment to regional peace and security, IAF engaged with the Indonesian and Malaysian Air Forces while en-route to Australia.
• IAF engagement with Indonesian and Malayasian Air Forces and its participation in the Exercise Pitch Black-18 once again showcases its capability to be an effective net security provider in the region.
• By navigating across the ocean, with precise air to air engagement with tanker aircraft and ability to operate over the international airspace, the Indian Air Force reaffirms that it would always play progressive role in showcasing India’s military capability.
IAF’s participation also holds diplomatic significance
The IAFs participation in the Pitch Black air combat drill is diplomatically significant as it comes following New Delhi's refusal to allow Australia to take part in 2018 June's Malabar naval exercise near Guam.
The move was aimed at protecting Indo-Sino relations as Australian participation would have antagonised China.
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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