RAAF F-35As to light up Exercise Pitch Black

The joint strike fighters are set to participate in the multinational air power exercise for the first time.

The Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) F-35A Lightning II aircraft are scheduled to take to the skies from 19 August to 8 September as part of their inaugural participation in Exercise Pitch Black 2022.

Nos. 3 and 75 Squadrons are expected to link up with counterparts from 15 nations around the world to strengthen air domain interoperability, engaging in a number of activities from RAAF Base Darwin, RAAF Base Tindal, and RAAF Base Amberley.

“Exercise Pitch Black is the largest Australian-based international exercise 81 Wing has participated in since transitioning to the F-35A and we’re excited by the opportunity to integrate the jet’s advanced capabilities with so many of our international partners,” Commanding Officer of No. 3 Squadron, Wing Commander Adrian Kiely said.

“Across the exercise, we aim to improve our collective air combat capabilities in a complex and contested environment.

“Our focus for Pitch Black is on strengthened international integration, which is paramount to further improving our ability to come together as a highly effective and interoperable force.”

The local community will be provided with an opportunity to see the F-35A aircraft in action while No. 3 Squadron is deployed in the Top End.

“RAAF Base Darwin is one of the premier air combat training locations worldwide,” WGCDR Kiely added.

“Darwin’s base and support agencies are highly adept at facilitating large force employment, and the NT military airspace is among the best in the world.

“We greatly appreciate the ongoing support we receive from NT residents and in particular, the Darwin local community.”

Among the F-35A activities on display will be a handling display at Mindil Beach and on the ground during the RAAF Base Darwin Open Day.

More broadly, it is expected to include day and night flying involving approximately 100 participating aircraft.

Defence Connect

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