Fighting the fight

In the skies above the Northern Territory, Pitch Black is being fought with simulated ‘enemy’ forces who are providing vital training for our friendly aircraft.

No.75 Squadron plays the role of ‘red air’, alongside a deployed US Marine Corps (USMC) All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron out of RAAF Base Tindal near Katherine, NT.

Both squadrons simulate the ‘enemy’ during the exercise with set training serials for the Air Force and participating nations to fight and develop tactics against.

Mission Commander, SQNLDR F, said Red Force provides an adversary air threat to facilitate learning outcomes in the Large Force Employment (LFE) training.

“Pitch Black flying scenarios have around 50 Blue Force and 35 Red Force aircraft creating a big, complex picture and a difficult problem to solve for ‘good guys’ to carry out their mission,” SQNLDR F said.

“We already have a very close relationship with the USMC and develop tactics with them regularly through exercises such as Pitch Black.”

“Working closely together with other nations, including visiting USMC Hornets from Japan and the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Air-to-Air Refuelling CC-130H(T), strengthens our interoperable force.

“This training ensures basics like our avionics data can be shared, our systems are compatible and our tactics between the nations are aligned and working well.” he said.

Exercise Pitch Black 2018 is the Royal Australian Air Force’s biennial, capstone International Engagement activity with 16 Air Forces participating from a range of regional, coalition and allied nations.

By FLGOFF Belinda Scott