The Indian Air Force is all set to participate for the first time ever in Exercise Pitch Black 2018 (PB-18) hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). The multinational warfare drill will be held later this month in Australia.
The Indian Air Force contingent will consists of 145 air-warriors including a Garud commando team, four Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter planes and a C-130 and a C-17 transport aircraft in the exercise.
Exercise Pitch Black is a biennial three-week multinational large force employment exercise. It is conducted from RAAF Base Darwin and RAAF Base Tindal.
It was conducted for the first time on June 15-16 in 1981 between different RAAF units.
Hosted by the Australian air force, Exercise Pitch Black ensures that the “training and integration of forces that occurs during this exercise directly supports Air Force’s ability to conduct operations,”.
Exercise Pitch Black, as the RAAF website reads, conducts a range of “realistic, simulated threats which can be found in a modern battle-space environment”.
The exercise hosts around 2500 personnel and over 100 aircraft from participants across the world.
While it usually includes countries like Canada, France (New Caledonia), Germany, Indonesia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand and the United States, this year, it will have India for the first time as well.
This year, Exercise Pitch Black 2018 will be held from July 27 to August 17.
It will take place in Australia’s Bradshaw Field Training Area and Delamere Air Weapons Range, known as one of the world’s largest training airspace areas.
The Indian Air Force contingent will assemble at Air Force Station Kalaikunda in West Bengal, and leave for the exercise today, and travel via Indonesia.
It would be led by Group Captain CUV Rao. The aim would be to undertake simulated air combat exercises in a controlled environment, and mutual exchange of best practices towards enhancing IAF’s operational capability.
“The exercise will provide a unique opportunity for exchange of knowledge and experience with these nations in a dynamic warfare environment. Participation in multinational air exercise assumes importance in view of the continued engagement of the IAF with friendly foreign countries,” the IAF said.
News credit : Indiatoday