Thu, 11 Aug 2022

Canberra [Australia], August 1 (ANI): Australia on Monday announced the participation of 17 nations in Exercise Pitch Black 2022 (PBK22), after a hiatus of four-year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

About 100 aircraft and 2500 military personnel from 17 nations will arrive in the Northern Territory in two weeks to commence Exercise Pitch Black 2022 (PBK22), said the Australian Government - Defence press release.

With a four-year hiatus since the last Pitch Black due to the global pandemic, this year's exercise will see a return of the combined force to Australian skies, enhancing interoperability and strengthening relationships.

PBK22 is Air Force's biennial capstone international engagement activity with key strategic partners.

This year's participants include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, India, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, UAE, the UK and the US.

Significantly, Germany, Japan, and the Republic of Korea will be participating fully for the first time.

PBK22 Director Engagement Group Captain Peter Wood said he was pleased to see a return to Pitch Black after the extended break, added the release.

"International participation in Exercise Pitch Black, from within the Indo-Pacific region and further abroad, provides all nations' personnel with experience in working with aircraft, systems and work practices, in northern Australia's unique environment, that would otherwise be unfamiliar," Group Captain Wood said.

"Exercising with our international partners in combined air combat operations is pivotal to ensuring Air Force remains ready to respond whenever the Australian Government requires," added Wood.

The exercise is a biennial three-week multi-national large force employment exercise conducted primarily from RAAF Base Darwin and RAAF Base Tindal. RAAF Base Amberley, located near Ipswich will also be included in the exercise this year.

Exercise Pitch Black will run from August 19 - September 8, 2022.

"The training and integration of forces that occurs during this exercise directly supports Air Force's ability to conduct operations," said Group Captain Wood.

"We'll have nations operating out of RAAF Bases Darwin and Tindal primarily, supported by RAAF Base Amberley," he added.

Exercise Pitch Black 2022 is the Royal Australian Air Force's most significant International Engagement activity with forces participating from a wide range of partner and allied nations developing and enhancing military relationships at all levels.

"We are very much looking forward to working with our international partners once again for Exercise Pitch Black," said Wood.

Exercise Pitch Black 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 our force integration, utilising one of the largest training airspace areas in the world -- Bradshaw Field Training Area and Delamere Air Weapons Range.

Activities such as Exercise Pitch Black recognize Australia's strong relationships and the high value on regional security and fostering closer ties throughout the Indo- Pacific region.

The exercise will also support a concurrent International Observer Group program in order to provide an opportunity for foreign forces to gain an appreciation of how Australia prepares for and executes major activities.

The exercise will include day and night flying. There will not be any overarching scenario for the exercise. Each mission will be executed as a stand-alone serial with distinct training objectives. (ANI)

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