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Up to 94  aircraft and more than 2200 personnel are expected to participate in Exercise Pitch Black 12. This will include:

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)

  • F/A-18A Hornet (Darwin and Tindal)
  • F/A-18F Super Hornet (Darwin)*
  • C-130H and C-130J Hercules (Darwin)
  • King Air 350 (Darwin)
  • Hawk 127 Lead-In Fighter (Tindal)
  • Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft (Tindal)*
  • AP-3C Orion (Tindal)
  • KC-30 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (Amberley)*

Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF)

  • F-16 Falcon (Darwin)
  • F-15SG Eagle (Darwin)*
  • Gulfstream 550 Conformal Airborne Early Warning (CAEW) (Darwin)*
  • KC-135 Stratotanker (Darwin)

United States Marine Corps (USMC)

  • F/A-18C Hornet (Tindal)
  • KC-130J Hercules (Tindal)

Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF)

  • F-16 Falcon (Darwin)

Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU)*

  • Su-30 Flanker (Darwin – 27 July to 13 August only)*

Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF)

  • Combat Support Personnel

*denotes first time participant for Exercise Pitch Black.

Exercise Pitch Black 12 will feature a range of long-time participant nations and aircraft as well as newcomers. In 2012, the Indonesian Air Force is slated to attend the exercise for the very first time, participating from 27 July to 13 August. It will operate its Su-30 Flanker aircraft for the first time in Australia.

While the RAAF’s Super Hornet and Wedgetail AEW&C aircraft have participated in previous exercises in the Northern Territory, 2012 marks the first time these aircraft will participate in Exercise Pitch Black. Fielding these aircraft in a large-scale air combat exercise within Australia is an exciting event for Air Force, with the Super Hornet and Wedgetail demonstrating the next generation in technology.

The KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport, which is still undergoing its Operational Test and Evaluation, may participate in several Exercise Pitch Black 12 missions.

Other first time participants in Pitch Black 12 will include the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s F-15SG Eagle and Gulfstream CAEW aircraft.

Exercise Pitch Black 12 will mark the last time the RAAF’s C-130H Hercules transport aircraft participate in a Pitch Black exercise. These aircraft have provided an essential tactical airlift capability to the RAAF since they were first delivered in 1978, and are veterans of service in Iraq, Afghanistan, East Timor, and numerous humanitarian relief operations. The C-130H will be withdrawn from service later this year.

Civilian contracted aircraft, including a Boeing 707 air-to-air refuelling tanker from Omega Air, will also be utilised for Exercise Pitch Black.