New Delhi: With over 140 aircrafts and 4000 personnel from several countries participating, Operation Pitch Black in Australia is one of the biggest exercises of its kinds. Officially inaugurated on Friday, the Indian Air Force has been at the center of the exercise as it looks to build on regional partnerships, improve interoperability between nations and promote regional stability.
#ExPitchBlack18 has officially commenced today in #Darwin, Northern Territory. With 140 aircraft and 4000 personnel from 16 different nations, this is our biggest one yet. Read more here: https://t.co/Wm4n13WVj8 #AusAirForce @9NewsDarwin @abcdarwin pic.twitter.com/NYqdHzJJuS
— RAAF - Aus_AirForce (@Aus_AirForce) July 27, 2018
The Indian contingent in Australia is being led by Group Captain CUV Rao and includes a Garud Team, four SU-30 MKI, one X C-130 and a X C-17 aircrafts. In a press release, the IAF said that the contingent would look to undertake simulated air combat exercises in a controlled environment and mutually exchange best practices towards improving operational capabilities. "The exercise will provide unique opportunity for exchange of knowledge and experience with these nations in a dynamic warfare environment," the IAF said. "Participation in multinational air exercise assumes importance in view of the continued engagement of the IAF with friendly foreign countries."
#PitchBlack2018 : The Pitch Black IAF contingent & their mighty machines are ready to roar in the skies of the Southern Hemisphere for the first time.
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) July 25, 2018
#ExPitchBlack18: Not all who churn the wheels of operations are seen. The Load Master of a transport ac is an essential team member. He ensures the loading of tonnes of cargo & stands guard before the engines roar.
Stoic, industrious & steadfast- the Load Master. pic.twitter.com/5FwgS8wbEY
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) July 29, 2018
Operation Pitch Black will be on till August 17 and is taking place at the Australian Air Force base in Darwin and Tindal.
The other countries participating - apart from hosts Australia - are France (New Caledonia), Singapore, Indonesia, US, Thailand, Malaysia, Canada, Germany, Netherlands and New Zealand. "Activities such as Exercise Pitch Black recognises the strong relationship Australia has with its participant nations and the high value it places on regional security and fostering closer ties throughout the Asia Pacific region," reads a statement on the official website of Australian Air Force. "Exercise Pitch Black features a range of realistic, simulated threats which can be found in a modern battle-space environment and is an opportunity to test and improve our force integration, utilising one of the largest training airspace areas in the world."