Exercise Pitch Black 2024: Largest in RAAF History

Exercise Pitch Black 2024, the Royal Australian Air Force’s premier biennial flying activity, will run from July 12 to August 2. This year’s event will be the largest in its history, featuring 20 nations and a multinational element.

For the first time, aircraft from Italy, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, and Spain will participate, along with personnel from Brunei and Fiji. The exercise will take place at RAAF Bases Darwin, Tindal, and Amberley, focusing on large-force employment missions over the Northern Territory.

Air Commodore Peter Robinson, leading the exercise, highlighted its unprecedented scale with about 140 aircraft and over 4,400 personnel involved. He emphasized the opportunity for enhanced international cooperation and the sharing of experiences to promote regional peace and stability.

New infrastructure, including the Defence Accommodation Precinct Darwin at Howard Springs, will support the exercise. RAAF Base Amberley will play a larger role than in previous years, hosting more tankers and transport aircraft.

The exercise will involve complex planning and coordination, with aircraft flying over extensive areas of the Australian outback in controlled airspace, tackling dynamic threats both day and night.

The benefits of Exercise Pitch Black will extend beyond the three-week duration, contributing to regional stability and enhancing Australia’s role as a security partner, in line with the 2024 National Defence Strategy. The event will also feature a Mindil Beach flying display and an open day at RAAF Base Darwin.

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