An Indian Air Force (IAF) contingent of over 100 air warriors has arrived in Australia to participate in Exercise Pitch Black 2022, with 4 Sukhoi-30 MKI (Su-30 MKI) fighters and 2 C-17 Globemaster-III aircraft.
- Pitch Black 2022 is scheduled to take place in Darwin, Australia, from August 19 to September 8, 2022.
The last edition of the exercise was held in 2018, and the 2020 edition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is rescheduled after a four-year hiatus.
- For the first time IAF participated in the Pitch Black Exercise in 2018.
Exercise Pitch Black
i. Pitch Black is a biennial three-week multi-national exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
ii.The 2022 edition is primarily carried out from RAAF Bases Darwin and Tindal. The 2022 edition will also include RAAF Base Amberley, located near Ipswich, Australia.
- It will focus on large force employment warfare driven by fighter combat scenarios.
- It involves the world’s largest training airspace areas, Bradshaw Field Training Area and Delamere Air Weapons Range in Australia.
iii. The exercise in Australia’s Northern Territory comprises over 100 aircraft and 2,500 personnel from 17 countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, India, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Republic of Korea, the UAE, Singapore, Thailand, United States (US), and United Kingdom (UK).
- The Republic of Korea, Japan, and Germany will take part wholly for the first time.
i. The IAF contingent, led by Group Captain Yesh Pal Singh Negi (YPS Negi), will conduct multi-domain air combat missions in a challenging environment while exchanging best practices with the other participating air forces.
ii.The Sukhois were refuelled in mid-air by French Air & Space Force tankers on their route to the Darwin base in Australia.
Strategic Partnership Between India and Australia
i. India & Australia upgraded their Strategic Partnership signed in 2009 to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) in 2020 to strengthen their military ties.
ii.Australia has become a regular participant in India’s top-tier Malabar Naval Exercise from 2020.
iii. The Malabar series of exercises began as an annual bilateral naval exercise between India and the US in 1992. Japan joined the Naval Exercises in 2015.
- The Malabar naval exercise among the four “Quad” or Quadrilateral coalition countries (India, US, Japan, and Australia) aims to prevent any “coercion” in the Indo-Pacific region.
Other Recent IAF Participation Events
i. In June-July 2022, the IAF also sent Sukhoi fighters & C-17 aircraft to the Egyptian Air Force Weapon School at Cairo West Airbase (Egypt), where its aircrew also served as instructors.
ii.Early in August 2022, an IAF contingent consisting of 4 Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets, a C-17 aircraft, and an IL-78 mid-air refuellerparticipated in the “Udarashakti” air combat exercise held in Malaysia.
iii. Additionally, India continues to be the frontrunner to sell the Southeast Asian country its own Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas.
Recent Related News:
Punjab National Bank (PNB) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian Air Force (IAF) to provide specially designed products to the defence personnel under the ‘PNB Rakshak Plus’ scheme. It is a Zero Balance Salary/ Pension Account for Serving & Non- Serving Defence Personnel i.e. all three wings of Defence.
Prime Minister – Anthony Albanese
Capital – Canberra
Currency – Australian Dollar (AUD)