Military Crews Take Part in ‘Pitch Black,’ Asia-Pacific’s Largest Air Force Exercise

July 28, 2018 Updated: July 30, 2018    

The tropical northern city of Darwin is hosting 4,000 personnel and 140 aircraft over the next three weeks as air forces from around the world take part in Exercise Pitch Black, one of Asia-Pacific’s largest air force training exercises.

Starting on Friday, July 27, the training includes night flying and aerial refuelling, and enables different nations a chance to learn from each other and improve their force integration using one of the largest training airspace areas in the world.

“Pitch Black is the Royal Australian Air Force’s largest and most important international air defense exercise with several regional, coalition and allied Air Forces taking part,” said Air-Vice Marshal Steven Roberton, DSC, AM Air Commander Australia, according to the Royal Australian Air Force website.

Exercise Pitch Black is a three-week multi-national large force employment exercise conducted from RAAF Base Darwin and RAAF Base Tindal in northern Australia. (Google Maps)

The biennial Pitch Black exercise began in 1990 between Australia and Singapore, and involves conducting battlefield simulations.

“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,” the Royal Australian Air Force said in a statement on its website.

The air forces involved are from the United States, Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Netherlands, Philippines, Singapore, Sweden, Thailand, New Zealand and Australia.

Exercise Pitch Black 2018 will be held from 27 July to 17 August 2018, said the Royal Australian Air Force.