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Exercise Pitch Black, the Air Force’s largest exercise in 2012, is being conducted in the Top End from 27 July to 17 August 2012. The exercise will involve 94 military aircraft from Australia, the United States, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia.

As many Northern Territorians will see fast jets in the air for the three weeks of the exercise, we want to show Darwin residents some of these aircraft up close and allow them to talk to the aircrew and the people who maintain and support them on the ground. To this end, the Air Force is pleased to announce that an Open Day will be held on Saturday 11 August between 9am and 4pm at RAAF Base Darwin.

We will have 21 aircraft on static display and ground displays from Darwin based units. No flying will be conducted at the Open Day but a single aircraft display will be held off the coast on the late afternoon of Thursday, 9 August at the Mindil Beach markets. More information regarding this display will be released closer to the event.

While some shade will be available, Air Force recommends the public bring sun protection and practical footwear.

Members of the public can bring their own food and drinks, or purchase them on site. Glass bottles are not to be brought on site.

Alcohol and smoking are not permitted on site, and there are no ATM facilities for the public.

No animals are allowed on the Base (unless registered guide dogs)

Photography will be permitted in the public areas.

Public Toilets will be available.

Getting There
A special event bus service will allow the public to park at Darwin Showgrounds on the Stuart Highway, and be transported to RAAF Base Darwin through the Bombing Road Gate.

Please note that this will be the only means of accessing the Open Day for the general public. Members of the public who arrive at RAAF Base Darwin will not be allowed access unless they board a bus at the Showground.

Parking, bus transit and entry to RAAF Base Darwin is all provided free of charge. Buses will depart from Darwin Showground.

Buses will depart for the RAAF Base from 8.55am until 3pm. This will allow the Open Day to finish by 4pm. Scheduled round trips will be conducted throughout the day.

Note that there could be minor traffic disruptions between the Showgrounds and the RAAF Base. Defence highly recommends members of the public carpool to this event.

Showground Parking
The Showground car park entry will only be via Hook Rd (travelling from Darwin), or via Shean Road off Stuart Highway (if travelling from the east). The Showground car park exit will be onto Hook Road (to join Stuart Hwy at the traffic lights), or via Tate Place onto Stuart Highway (to turn left only). This information can be found on this map.

Disabled parking
Disabled members of the public will be permitted through the Bombing Road Gate at RAAF Base Darwin if their vehicle displays an official ACROD-issued Disabled windscreen sticker. Patrons will then be directed to turn left once inside the gate, and directed to the Disabled car park, near the static display area.

Traffic and crowd information will be passed to local radio and updated throughout the Open Day. Information will also be posted to our Facebook event page ( and via Twitter (, with the hashtag #PitchBlack12.

The following aircraft types will be on Static Display:

  • F/A-18A Hornet (RAAF)
  • F/A-18F Super Hornet (RAAF)
  • C-130H Hercules (RAAF)
  • AP-3C Orion (RAAF)
  • B300 Super King Air (RAAF)
  • F-16 Fighting Falcon (Singapore)
  • F-15 Eagle (Singapore)
  • KC-135 Stratotanker  (Singapore)
  • Gulfstream G550 (Singapore)
  • F-16 Fighting Falcon (Thailand)
  • Sukhoi SU-30 (Indonesia)

The following ground displays are planned:

  • Air Movements Pallett Build and Loading Demonstration
  • Airfield Defence Guard Display
  • Military Working Dogs Display
  • Puppy Development Program
  • Explosive Detection Dogs
  • Darwin Medical Section Display
  • Bomb Disposal Unit Display
  • Piecart & Arrester Vehicle
  • Australian Aviation Heritage Centre Merchandise
  • Heritage Aircraft – Harvard, Tiger Moth and Auster
  • Defence Bank Display

It will be a great time; just remember to bring your hat and sunscreen.

For further information on Exercise Pitch Black 12 or the RAAF Base Darwin Open Day please phone 1800 424 775.