Five nations secure Exercise Pitch Black

Exercise Pitch Black 18 has brought security personnel from New Zealand, France, the United States, India and Australia together to provide security for the exercise’s 4000 personnel and 140 aircraft.

Their efforts are being integrated into the established security presence at RAAF Base Darwin, adding reinforcement to the base’s seven layered security operations.

Number 2 Security Forces (2SECFOR) Squadron, Deputy Security Officer, Flight Sergeant Andrew Presneill, said the increased manpower is definitely paying dividends for the squadron.

“Having all these extra eyes and boots on the ground gives us a greater deterrent effect, more reporting, and the increased manpower to handle more taskings.”

“We’ve been able to provide additional high visibility patrols, as well as greater focus on counter-reconnaissance, screening and surveillance.”

“We may not have been able to achieve these results without the assistance of the international forces,” he said.

The United States, Indian and French security forces are also providing point security for their fighter aircraft - the F-16s, Su-30s, and Rafales respectively – with round-the-clock patrols.

FSGT Presneill said working with their international counterparts offered the squadron a chance to look at things from another angle.

“Each nation does their business a little differently.”

“Just having someone come in with a different way of looking at something has identified for us some new ways of doing things.”

As the exercise progresses further integration is planned via mixed small patrols placing United States and French security personnel in teams with RAAF security personnel.

“The end goal of integrating our forces on patrol and in other areas is information sharing. 

“The idea is we come away with a better idea of how they do business, they come away with a better idea of how we do business, and in the end it makes us all better at working together as partners,” FSGT Presneill said.

By FLGOFF Monique Lonsdale

For more information visit: https://www.airforce.gov.au/exercises/pitch-black