New Delhi: The Indian Air Force (IAF) is for the first time participating in the multinational “Pitch Black” warfare exercise in Australia. The IAF contingent for the July 24-August 18 biennial multi-national large force employment warfare exercise will consist of 145 air-warriors including Garud team, four Su-30MKI fighters, one C-130 special operations aircraft and one C-17 transporter, an IAF spokesperson said.
Pitch Black is hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and will see eight other nations participating with over 100 aircraft. The IAF contingent led by Group Captain C.U.V. Rao is expected to assemble at Air Force Station Kalaikunda and depart for the exercise on July 19 from India to Australia via Indonesia.
The IAF men and machines will undertake simulated air combat exercises in a controlled environment and mutual exchange of best practices towards enhancing its operational capability. During the flight from India to Australia and back, Su-30MKI fighters will carry out air-to-air refuelling with IL-78 tankers.
After completion of the exercise, on its return leg from Darwin to Subang, the fighters will be refuelled in air for the first time by RAAF KC-30A. During the transit to Australia, the IAF contingent will also have constructive engagement with Indonesian and Malaysian Air Forces, the spokesperson said
“The exercise will provide 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.”
Over the last decade, the IAF has been actively participating in operational exercises hosted by various countries for collaborative engagements.