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Exercise Pitch Black 12 begins

Two Australian No 77 Squadron F/A-18 Hornet Aircraft welcome Indonesian Air Force (TNI AU) Sukhoi Su-30 Flanker aircraft into Darwin to participate in Exercise Pitch Black 2012.

More than 2200 participants and up to 100 military aircraft from Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, New Zealand and the United States will participate in Exercise Pitch Black being conducted in the Northern Territory from 27 July to 17 August.

Exercise Pitch Black will be held from RAAF Bases Darwin and Tindal
and will use massive military training areas near Bradshaw and Delamere to practice offensive counter air and offensive air support operations with large formations of foreign aircraft.

Air Commander Australia, Air Vice-Marshal Mel Hupfeld, said the biennial exercise would this year feature a mix of first-time and returning participants, making it the most advanced in the event’s 22-year history.

“For the first time at Exercise Pitch Black, Australia will be fielding the Super Hornet, Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft, and KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport,” he said.

“The Indonesian Air Force will make its debut appearance at Exercise Pitch Black 12, and we’re very excited to see it attend with its Sukhoi Flanker fighter aircraft.

“Singapore has been a regular participant and will this year bring its F-15SG Eagle and Gulfstream G550 Conformal Airborne Early Warning aircraft,” Air Vice-Marshall Hupfeld said.

“Regionally and geographically, the Northern Territory is ideally placed for exercise participants to bring together large formations of aircraft to conduct complex operations,” Air Vice-Marshall Hupfeld said.

“Conducting Exercise Pitch Black 12 is a massive undertaking, not just for aircrews and maintainers but also for the planning that is involved.”

During Exercise Pitch Black 12, Air Force will conduct a handling display with an F/A-18 ‘Classic’ Hornet over Mindil Beach Markets on August 9. An Open Day at RAAF Base Darwin will be held on August 11 for the Darwin community.

“Air Force has a deep bond with the Northern Territory extending back to 1938, and holding these events is our way of extending a sincere thank you to the public for its support,” Air Vice-Marshall Hupfeld said.