Exercise Pitch Black

Exercise Pitch Black is returning to the Northern Territory in 2022 and the Royal Australian Air Force would like to thank the Northern Territory community once again for their interest and tremendous support.

The exercise is a biennial three week multi-national large force employment exercise conducted primarily from RAAF Base Darwin and RAAF Base Tindal. RAAF Base Amberley, located near Ipswich will also be included in the exercise this year.

Exercise Pitch Black 2022 is the Royal Australian Air Force’s most significant International Engagement activity with forces participating from a wide range of partner and allied nations developing and enhancing military relationships at all levels.

Exercises such as this are pivotal to ensuring Air Force remains ready to respond whenever the Australian Government requires. The training and integration of forces that occurs during this exercise directly supports Air Force’s ability to conduct operations.

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.

The exercise will host up to 2500 personnel and up to 100 aircraft from around the globe including participants from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, India, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, UAE, US and UK. Significantly, Germany, Japan, and the Republic of Korea will be participating fully for the first time.

Activities such as Exercise Pitch Black recognise Australia’s strong relationships and the high value placed on regional security and fostering closer ties throughout the Indo-Pacific region.

Air Force is pleased to continue the tradition of providing a flypast and handling display at Mindil Beach and an Open Day at RAAF Base Darwin. The community will have the chance to observe, first-hand, some of the participating Air Forces’ capabilities.

The exercise will also support a concurrent International Observer Group program in order to provide an opportunity for foreign forces to gain an appreciation of how Australia prepares for and executes major activities.

The exercise will include day and night flying involving up to approximately 100 participating aircraft. There will not be any overarching scenario for the exercise. Each mission will be executed as a stand-alone serial with distinct training objectives.


Through Exercise Pitch Black, the RAAF will demonstrate Air Force’s commitment to building professionalism and enhancing military relationships for the safe and effective conduct of air operations with regional and partner nations.

The exercise will enhance regional security through multinational interoperability and understanding


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the RAAF is adjusting how it does business while still maintaining operational readiness. Exercise Pitch Black 2022 is critical to the RAAF maintaining that readiness.

The RAAF has worked with relevant State and Territory authorities – including Chief Health Officers – to design an exercise that achieves its objectives while being safe for the Australian community and participating forces.

International forces entering Australia are subject to the same requirements as any international arrival.

Comprehensive COVID-19 risk management plans – agreed to by relevant state and territory health authorities – will also be implemented throughout the exercise

Time and venue

Pitch Black exercise activities are planned to occur in the Northern Territory and Queensland particularly at RAAF Base Darwin and RAAF Base Tindal. RAAF Base Amberley, located near Ipswich, will also be included in the exercise this year.

The exercise will run from 19 August – 8 September 2022. There will be aircraft and people arriving a few days prior to the start of the exercise. Some aircraft and people will remain in the NT for another exercise

Community involvement

The ADF has a long history of training and living in the Northern Territory. It's a home for many and where most of ADF families live.

Extensive engagement has occurred with graziers, local and state governments, communities and businesses, indigenous representatives, schools and environmental authorities.

Air Force appreciates the very strong support shown for Exercise Pitch Black. It is important as many interested parties as possible hear about the exercise and are encouraged to provide input. The Pitch Black website will be the central point of information. You can also contact us by sending a query via the Contact Us page. Media should contact Defence Media via email: media@defence.gov.au.

At time of writing, the exercise design included up to 100 aircraft from 15 participating nations.

Useful Links

For images from previous Exercise Pitch Blacks please visit the Defence Image Gallery.

For more information please contact: PB.media@defence.gov.au