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Sep 5 2022

Allies and Partners work hand in glove in Australian exercise Pitch Black

RAMSTEIN, Germany - During Australia’s multinational live-fly exercise Pitch Black, Allies are flying alongside Partners from the Indo-Pacific region to hone their ability to operate with each other and support global security relations.

French, German, British and U.S. fighter and support aircraft have deployed to Australia’s Northern Territory to fly in the Royal Australian Air Force-led exercise Pitch Black. Taking place every other year, Pitch Black offers a unique and wide airspace to fly in and many chances for practical cooperation with regional air forces from India, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore or South Korea.

The goal is to seize the opportunity to expand own capabilities and train together to practice realistic air operations

For six German Air Force Eurofighters from Air Wing 74 in southern Germany and accompanying Multinational Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) A300 air-to-air refuellers, the goal is to seize the opportunity to expand own capabilities and train together to practice realistic air operations. By participating in this high-value exercise, Germany also underscores its commitment to the region. “The multinational exercise Pitch Black is an excellent chance for training with Partners we rarely meet; and it is a great experience to fly together with nations who are already now using the F-35,” said Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz, Commander of the German Air Force – hinting a Germany’s decision to acquire this fifth generation fighter aircraft.

A French Rafale is shutting down engines at a parking spot during exercise Pitch Black. Photo by French Air and Space Force.
A UK RAF Typhoon fighters upon arrival in the Northern Territory. Photo by Royal Air Force.
German Euruofighter jets being prepared for a training mission.  Photo byBundeswehr.
The German detachment commander discussing with a Japanese Air Force observer on an apron with the "Air Ambassador" Eurofighter in the background. Photo by Bundeswehr.

The French Air and Space Force fly their Rafale fighters and French A330 MRTT during Pitch Black. “For us it is important to verify and demonstrate that our common tactics, techniques and procedures are working smoothly,” said Major Quentin, Commander of the French A330 MRTT detachment. “We are also eager get to know our colleagues from the MRTT community; the A330 is used by seven participants in Pitch Black,” he added.

The Royal Air Force’s participation in Pitch Black is designed to deepen defence engagement in the region in support of shared prosperity and regional stability. Besides their A330 Voyager, the Royal Air Force brought their Typhoon fighters to the exercise in Down Under because of training environment in Australia. “Exercising at this scale and complexity is simply not possible in Europe,” said Wing Commander Rees, Officer Commanding 6 Squadron operating Typhoons. “With 50,000 square miles of training area, alongside a variety of different aircraft, with support from air-to-air refuelling tankers and E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft, we are able to test ourselves in scenarios which mirror closely real-world combined air operations,” he added.

The participation of Allies in exercise Pitch Black in the Indo-Pacific region underscores the relations that NATO member states maintain around the world to promote the principles of cooperation to uphold the rules-based order – a global system based on norms and values.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

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