Four Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter jets and 2 C-17 heavy-lift aircraft of the Indian Air Force on Friday joined a 17-nation air combat exercise in Australia.
The three-week ‘Pitch Black’ exercise, being hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), is taking place amid the conflict in Ukraine and China’s military muscle-flexing in the Taiwan Strait following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei.
Over 100 aircraft and 2,500 personnel from
Over 100 aircraft and 2,500 personnel from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, India, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Republic of Korea, the UAE, Singapore, Thailand, the US, and the UK are participating in the exercise in Australia’s Northern Territory.
The RAAF considers the biennial exercise as its “capstone” international engagement activity with the air forces from strategic partners and allies.
Indian Air Force
“An Indian Air Force contingent has arrived in Australia for participating in exercise Pitch Black 2022 scheduled to be held from August 19 to September 8 in Darwin,” the Indian Air Force (IAF) told.
“The Indian Air Force (IAF) contingent, led by Group Captain YPS Negi, comprises over a hundred air warriors, deployed with 4 Su-30 MKI fighter and 2 C-17 aircraft,” the IAF stated in a report. It told them they will undertake multi-domain air combat missions in a complex environment and exchange best practices with the participating air forces.
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Exercise commander Air Commodore Tim Alsop stated the return of Pitch Black marked an excellent opportunity to strengthen partnerships and promote regional stability.
The RAAF stated the exercise recognizes Australia’s strong relationships and the high value it placed on regional security and fostering close ties throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
“Pitch Black is a large force employment exercise, driven by fighter combat scenarios. This year, significant efforts have been made to advance the air-to-air refueling capability between many of the participating nations,” Alsop was quoted in a RAAF release.
“Air-to-air refueling is a force multiplier, providing essential reach to our combat aircraft. Operating with many of the participating nations aims to raise our force projection and maximize our capability,” he said.
The RAAF told the exercise will include day and night flying and will be undertaken with consideration given to minimizing the impact on the local community and the environment. PTI MPB IJT.
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