Air Force’s largest training activity for the year, Exercise Pitch Black 2016, has drawn to a close with a ceremony at RAAF Base Darwin to thank all of the Australian and international exercise participants.
Exercise Pitch Black provided one of the best opportunities for Australia to train with a wide range of regional, coalition and allied nations.
During the exercise up to 80 military aircraft were launched each wave to complete complex air and ground based missions.
Commander Task Unit Exercise Pitch Black 2016, Group Captain Davies, said the exercise provided a unique training opportunity for all participants.
“Over the last 22 days all participating nations have met or exceeded their training expectations, now it is time to get them all home safely,” Group Captain Davies said.
“The beauty of Pitch Black is that we can bring everyone together in two locations and exercise in a massive piece of airspace between Darwin and Tindal.
“By bringing everyone together we can promote interoperability. This enhances our capabilities, allowing us to review and refine our processes.
“As a defence force we need to be prepared to operate in the most dangerous situations both air-to-air and air-to-ground. Exercise Pitch Black 2016 has provided that vital training.”
The local community may still get the opportunity to see international aircraft in the Darwin and Katherine regions next week with some countries conducting additional training before returning home following Exercise Pitch Black.
“From this afternoon some of the squadrons who participated in Pitch Black will depart. However, some of the exercise participants will take advantage of the opportunity to continue training whilst here in Australia,” Group Captain Davies said.
“I would like to thank the Northern Territory community for their continued support during the exercise.”
Exercise Pitch Black is expected to have injected $25 million into the local Northern Territory economy over the last month.
The exercise featured more than 2800 personnel and 115 aircraft. There were representatives from 10 countries: Australia, Canada, Indonesia, France (New Caledonia), Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand and the United States of America.