Royal Air Force Typhoon fighter jets from RAF Lossiemouth have arrived in Australia to participate in a major training exercise.
Hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Exercise Pitch Black will see 100 aircraft and 2500 personnel from 17 nations train together for three weeks. Held biennially, the large force employment exercise will be conducted primarily from RAAF bases Darwin and Tindal in the Northern Territory. Other participants include Japan, Republic of Korea and Singapore.
Wing Commander Noel Rees, Officer Commanding 6 Squadron who led the Typhoons into Darwin said:
“The relationship between the RAF and RAAF is a close and enduring one and we’re delighted to be invited to participate in what promises to be a very realistic and challenging exercise."
“The high-end training and complex exercise environment offered by Pitch Black combined with the opportunity to share best practise with so many other partners and allies is invaluable. Our presence here is also a further demonstration of the UK’s longstanding commitment to deepening cooperation and engagement in the Indo-Pacific.”
Wing Commander Noel Rees
The RAF Typhoons from 6 Squadron flew from RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, air-air refuelled en-route by a Voyager tanker which also carried support aviators and equipment. The 8600 nautical mile journey, which included overnight stops in the United Arab Emirates, India and Singapore, was also supported by an Atlas transport aircraft.
Group Captain Peter Wood, RAAF Director Engagement said:
“International participation in Exercise Pitch Black, from within the Indo-pacific region and further abroad, provides all nations’ personnel with experience in working with aircraft, systems and work practices, in northern Australia’s unique environment that would otherwise be unfamiliar.”
Group Captain Peter Wood
Throughout the exercise the Voyager will provide fuel to both the RAF Typhoons and fast jets from other participating nations. Voyager Detachment Commander, Squadron Leader Andy Brown said:
“Enabling the deployment of four Typhoons half way around the world is a great example of the essential air mobility role Voyager delivers in the projection of RAF air power. The challenge of ensuring a smooth and safe global transit has proven excellent training which will continue once the exercise commences.”
Squadron Leader Andy Brown