Exercise Pitch Black 12 takes off in Northern Territory

27 July 2012 | Media Release

Up to 100 military aircraft will be in the Northern Territory from July 27 until August 17 as the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) hosts international partners for Exercise Pitch Black 12.

With 2200 participants coming from across Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, New Zealand and the United States, Exercise Pitch Black will be held from RAAF Bases Darwin and Tindal.

Air Commander Australia, Air Vice Marshal Mel Hupfeld, said the biennial exercise would this year feature a mix of first-time and returning participants, making it the most advanced in the event’s 22-year history.

“For the first time at Exercise Pitch Black, Australia will be fielding the Super Hornet, Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft, and KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport,” he said.

“The Indonesian Air Force will make its debut appearance at Exercise Pitch Black 12, and we’re very excited to see it attend with its Sukhoi Flanker fighter aircraft.

“Singapore has been a regular participant and will this year bring its F-15SG Eagle and Gulfstream G550 Conformal Airborne Early Warning aircraft,” AVM Hupfeld said.

Participants at Exercise Pitch Black 12 will utilise massive military training areas near Bradshaw and Delamere to practice offensive counter air and offensive air support operations with large formations of foreign aircraft.

“Regionally and geographically, the Northern Territory is ideally placed for exercise participants to bring together large formations of aircraft to conduct complex operations,” AVM Hupfeld said.

“Conducting Exercise Pitch Black 12 is a massive undertaking, not just for aircrews and maintainers but also for the planning that is involved.”

During Exercise Pitch Black 12, Air Force will conduct a handling display with an F/A-18 ‘Classic’ Hornet over Mindil Beach Markets on August 9. An Open Day at RAAF Base Darwin will be held on August 11 for the Darwin community.

“Air Force has a deep bond with the Northern Territory extending back to 1938, and holding these events is our way of extending a sincere thank you to the public for its support,” AVM Hupfeld said.

Members of the public can find updates, imagery and more information regarding Exercise Pitch Black through the following:
• Internet: http://www.defence.gov.au/opEx/exercises/pitchblack12/
• Facebook Event Page: http://ra.af/PitchBlack12
• Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/airforcehq or #pitchblack12
• Public Enquiries Line: 08 892 35887 or 1800 424 775.

Media contacts:
Judy Ferrier 0409 545 394
Eamon Hamilton 0429 868 794

Issued by Ministerial and Executive Coordination and Communication,
Department of Defence,
Canberra, ACT
Phone: 02 6127 1999 Fax: 02 6265 6946

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