Indian Air Force jump on board Aussie C-130J Hercules

Indian Air Force is participating in Exercise Pitch Black

For the first time ever, the Indian Air Force is participating in Exercise Pitch Black and have deployed to RAAF Base Darwin.

As part of the Force Integration Training week, Indian Air Force Detachment member Group Captain Mandeep Chahal, took the opportunity to gain firsthand experience to fly onboard a RAAF C-130J Hercules taking part in the Exercise.

Providing a unique experience for different nations to work together, exchange knowledge and experience, GPCAPT Mandeep Chahal got to witness a static line parachuting operation.

“It is great exposure to get international air forces together with similar aircraft. We have been doing this type of flying in India but getting to know other countries and how they fly and their procedures will be a great learning experience,” GPCAPT Chahal said.

“The Australian countryside is quite different to what we would experience in India. Our terrain is heavily populated and we are not able to operate as freely.”

“Today I was on board as an observer, definitely I hope to someday fly with them as crew.”

Co-captain of the familiarisation flight, Flight Lieutenant Sarah Hume relished the opportunity to have the Indian Air Force share their knowledge and experience.

“It’s great to have such a large exercise in Australia and get to show our landscape and the type of operations that we do,” FLTLT Hume said.

“It is a really good opportunity to have exposure to everyone else’s work. To see what we do differently, and what we do the same. Especially when flying similar aircraft.” She said.

The Indian Air Force contingent sent to Pitch Black consists of 145 personnel supporting a range of aircraft including four Su-30MKI Multi-role fighter aircraft and one C-130J Hercules.

Exercise Pitch Black is the conducted in the Northern territory from 27th of July to the 17th of August and involves personnel from 16 different nations.

The exercise aims to strengthen regional partnerships, improve interoperability between nations and promote regional stability.

By FLGOFF Kate Stephens

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