Australian Army adds their support to Exercise Pitch Black

The Australian Army 16th Air Land Regiment (16 ALR) will provide protection for land forces and airfields against "enemy aircraft" at the Bradshaw Field Training Area and Delamere Air Weapons Ranges during Exercise Pitch Black.

For the first time in ten years, 16 ALR have travelled from Woodside Barracks in South Australia to train in real time drills and operations with the Royal Australian Air Force through Ground-Based Air Defence (GBAD) missions.

Major James Floyd, 16 ALR, said Pitch Black provides a realistic joint environment to develop and enhance capabilities to respond to the requirements of the modern battle space.

“We have several Air Force members embedded in the Regiment, they are working closely with our troops in the field environment to track enemy aircraft and defend Nackeroo airfield in Bradshaw,” said MAJ Floyd.

“This is the first time 16 ALR has participated in Pitch Black for ten years providing a great training opportunity for the unit.

“We have several short range missile launcher systems in the area and the Giraffe Agile Multi-Beam (GAMB) radar has been deployed to the region for the first time.

“The Giraffe detects and warns land forces of incoming artillery attack, as well as locating the point of origin of those attacks to enable joint effects on the enemy.

“Many of our younger soldiers have not yet had the chance to track aircraft so this is highly beneficial training for them.

“Working closely with Air Force and Navy is very important as we develop our new and future capabilities to operate in the joint environment.

16 ALR personnel and the GMAB radar arrived on a RAAF C-17A Globemaster III at RAAF Base Tindal on 26th of July.

The Regiment has in recent history deployed soldiers to the Middle East on Operation OKRA and Timor-Leste.

By FLGOFF Belinda Scott

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