Aviation Spotters Online

Aviation Spotters Online

Exercise Pitch Black 2016 “The Art of War”

“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”

Sun Tzu, The Art of War – Pitch Black 2016

Every two years the Royal Australian Air Force hosts nations from all around the globe, along with its own chosen units, they all participate in the exercise called Pitch Black.

USMC VMGR 152 out of Iwakuni, Japan.
USMC VMGR 152 out of Iwakuni , Japan. Supply beast for the Marine Rotational Force – Darwin while they are based here for 6 months, call sign “Sumo”

This year participating guests included

  • Republic of Singapore Air Force
  • Royal Thai Air Force
  • Indonesian Air Force
  • United States Marines
  • United States Air Force (Pacific Air Force)
  • France Air Contingent (New Caledonia)
  • Royal Canadian Air Force.

This impressive list along with a broad selection of Australian units meant that upwards of 115 aircraft and up to 2500 personnel descended on the top end for 3 weeks of intense activities.

RSAF F-15SG Mindil Beach sunset display.
RSAF F-15SG Mindil Beach sunset display.

ASO was privileged to be invited to Darwin by the RAAF media unit to participate in a 3 day embedded media program that covered a good taste of the different types of units & roles involved in the over the 3 weeks.

From flying units to a visit to a Mobile Control & Reporting Unit, we were treated to access to many areas not available to the general public.

RAAF F/A-18A Hornet 77SQN
RAAF F/A-18A Hornet 77SQN

The reference to the “Art of War” was made during our media introduction, given by Air Commodore Rick Owen.

AIRCDRE Owen spoke passionately about the fact that (from an Australian pilot point of view) Pitch Black is not about training as the aircrews participating already have the skills to fly. It is about helping them evolve their knowledge to better use the skills they already possess.

RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornets from 1SQN & 6SQN. A44-212 & A44-224.
RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornets from 1SQN & 6SQN. A44-212 & A44-224.

With that in mind ASO plan to bring you not just a general overview of the exercise as a whole, but a series of sub-articles that will go into greater detail some of the specific units we visited over the week.

We will also bring your coverage of what was one of the highlights of the embedded program, the RAAF KC-30A tanker flight.

We’ve included just a sample of images here to get you excited for what’s just around the corner as the Exercise was so big we will need to spread the awesome content we have captured.

Watch this space!

RAAF F/A-18A Hornet 77SQN A21-48 night launch
RAAF F/A-18A Hornet 77SQN A21-48 night launch

 

RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornet sunset display at Mindil Beach
RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornet sunset display at Mindil Beach

 

Royal Thai Air Force F-16
Royal Thai Air Force F-16 A(eMLU) from 403sqn wing 4 Takhli. Call Sign “COBRA”

 

RAAF F/A-18A Hornet 77SQN A21-48
RAAF F/A-18A Hornet 77SQN A21-48

 

F/A-18F Super Hornet wheel bay
F/A-18F Super Hornet wheel bay

 

F/A-18F Super Hornet - Star Wars is happening right now !
F/A-18F Super Hornet – Star Wars is happening right now !

 

RAAF C-17A Globemaster III
RAAF C-17A Globemaster III

A massive thank you to the Royal Australian Air Force Ex Pitch Black Media team for their assistance to the ASO team over the 3 week exercise. This is only a taste of what the ASO team got so stay tuned and don’t miss anything by following the link below to subscribe to Aviation Spotters Online.


 

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