Page 8 - Australian Defence Magazine September 2018
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Ex Pitch Black takes off
AUSTRALIA’S largest air combat exer- cise got underway in the Top End, with the first Force Introduction Training (FIT) sorties launched from RAAF Bas- es Darwin and Tindal.
Pitch Black is a biennial exercise held in the relatively empty skies of the NT and reg- ularly involves aircraft and personnel from Australia’s allies and partners in the region.
“We have about 4,000 people partici- pating in the exercise, mainly based here in Darwin but RAAF Tindal down at Kath- erine is also quite full,” he said. “We have people down at Batchelor, we’ve aircraft based at Kununurra, our ground control agencies are based at a further five or six other locations in the Top End and we’re using the Delamere and Bradshaw ranges as well, so it’s a fairly big exercise.”
AIRCDRE Kitcher said that some esti- mates have suggested that up to $30 mil- lion will be injected into the NT economy as a result of Pitch Black 2018.
The exercise this year marks the first time the RAAF’s EA-18G Growler airborne elec-
tronic attack aircraft and C-27J Spartan bat- tlefield airlifter have participated and anoth- er first is the participation of the Indian Air Force, which has brought four Sukhoi Su-30 fighters and a C-130J Hercules to Darwin.
“We have the IAF here for the first time. They were part of the international observ- er group for Pitch Black 16 and they decid- ed to come along this year with their Suk- hoi Su-30 aircraft and a C-130J and that’s a wonderful addition to what is a great exer- cise,” AIRCDRE Kitcher added. “We also have French Air Force Rafales here for the first time and the Indonesian Air Force is here again this year as well, so those addi-
An SU-30MKI Flanker aircraft from the Indian Air Force takes off from RAAF Base Darwin during Exercise Pitch Black 18.
tions, along with partners and allies who have been coming for many years to Pitch Black, such as the Republic of Singapore Air Force, the Royal Thai Air Force, the US Air Force and the US Marine Corps make this truly an international exercise.”
The first week of the exercise has been ded- icated to Force Integration Training, which has seen aircraft from different countries fly- ing joint missions to familiarise themselves with the airspace and to learn how to oper- ate with one another. The second and third weeks build gradually to large packages, which could include up to 100 aircraft, fly- ing both day and night missions.
HMAS Brisbane will sail to Sydney to formally enter service.
bines radar and fire control data into a com- mon picture to allow one ship to engage an adversary based on the other ship’s data. It was the first time that the technology has been used by a nation outside the US.
The third ship, Sydney, was launched at Osborne in May this year and will be de- livered to the Navy next year.
Brisbane delivered to the fleet
RAN’S second Air Warfare Destroyer, HMAS Brisbane, has officially been hand- ed over to Defence.
Brisbane is the second of three ships be- ing delivered by the Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance which comprises the Department of Defence, Raytheon Australia, and ASC Shipbuilding supported by Navantia.
Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne attended the acceptance ceremony at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in Adelaide along- side Chief of Navy, VADM Michael Noonan. Former sailor and rope maker David Morse presented the ship's Bell Rope, and Richard Yates, wood carver for the RAN, presented the Battle Honour Board to Commanding Officer CMDR Josh Wilson.
“This is major step in the construction of the Brisbane, and she will be one of the most capable warships in the world, and it is a reflection of how Navy’s modern warfighting has evolved,” VADM Noonan
said. “She has the world’s first complete combat management system, which in- tegrates powerful computers, radars and weapon systems to provide simultaneous defence against advanced air, surface and subsurface threats."
“Brisbane will enter into service later this year and with her sister-ships, they will be the most potent warships ever op- erated by the RAN,” Minister Pyne said. “By using a combination of Australian and globally proven technologies, these highly capable warships will contribute directly to our maritime security and allow us to work even closer with our allies.”
The first AWD, HMAS Hobart, was accepted and commissioned into service last year.
In April, DDG HMAS Hobart and then- NUSHIP Brisbane successfully tested the Cooperative Engagement Capability off the coast of South Australia, which com-
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