The F/A-18F Super Hornets from RAAF Base Amberley are participating in Exercise Pitch Black.
The F/A-18F Super Hornets from RAAF Base Amberley are participating in Exercise Pitch Black. LACW Shannon McCarthy

RAAF Amberley prepares for Exercise Pitch Black

PREPARATION is well and truly under way for the largest training activity run by the Royal Australian Air Force.

Pilots will be flying their KC-30s, C-17s and Super Hornets north from Amberley to Darwin to participate in Exercise Pitch Black later this month.

The exercise, held every two years, is a three-week multi-national large force employment exercise which will be conducted from RAAF Base Darwin and RAAF Base Tindal.

The Northern Territory will host up to 2500 personnel and 115 aircraft from around the globe including air crews from Australia, including RAAF Base Amberley, the United States Air Force, the Republic of Singapore Air Force, the Royal New Zealand Air Force and a number of other nations.

Aircraft will arrive in the week prior to the start of the exercise.

The exercise will use airspace over Bradshaw Training Area and Delamere Air Weapons Range to practice large formation offensive and counter air and offensive air support operations.

Commanding Officer Combat Control Support Centre, Wing Commander Paul Rickert (right) and Executive Officer Squadron Leader James Alexander review plans for exercise Pitch Black.
Commanding Officer Combat Control Support Centre, Wing Commander Paul Rickert (right) and Executive Officer Squadron Leader James Alexander review plans for exercise Pitch Black. CPL Casey Gaul

It will involve day and night flying from Darwin and Tindal, as well as a number of land elements in each location.

Air Commodore Christopher Sawade said major exercises such as Pitch Black were pivotal in ensuring the RAAF remained ready to respond whenever the Australian Government required.

In addition to sharpening the skills of RAAF Base Amberley pilots, he said Exercise Pitch Black was a major boost for the Northern Territory economy.

"Pitch Black 2014 contributed $25 million to the local economy and this year's exercise is expected to exceed that," he said.

Exercise Pitch Black will be held in the Northern Territory July 26 - August 19.


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