RAF

RAF Typhoon jets arrive in Australia for major multi-national exercise

A Voyager air-to-air refuelling tanker from RAF Brize Norton and support elements also arrived to participate in PitchBlack22.

Royal Air Force Typhoon fighter jets from RAF Lossiemouth and a Voyager air-to-air refuelling tanker have arrived in Australia to participate in a major multi-national exercise.

The Typhoons from 6 Squadron flew from RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, and were refuelled en route by the Voyager, from RAF Brize Norton, which also carried support aviators and equipment.

An Atlas transport aircraft also supported the 8,600-nautical mile journey, which included overnight stops in the United Arab Emirates, India and Singapore.

Exercise Pitch Black, hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), will see 100 aircraft and 2,500 personnel from 17 nations training together for three weeks.

Held every two years, Exercise Pitch Black 2022 is the RAAF's most significant international engagement activity allowing the forces from a wide range of partner and allied nations to develop and enhance military relationships at all levels.

The large force exercise will be conducted primarily from RAAF bases Darwin and Tindal in the Northern Territory – other nations expected to participant include: Canada, France (French Air Force and the French Armed Forces New Caledonia), Germany, Indonesia, India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and the United States.

Wing Commander Noel Rees, Officer Commanding 6 Squadron who led the Typhoons into Darwin, said they were "delighted to be invited to participate" in the exercise. 

He added that it "promises to be a very realistic and challenging exercise".

"The high-end training and complex exercise environment offered by Pitch Black combined with the opportunity to share best practise with so many other partners and allies is invaluable.

"Our presence here is also a further demonstration of the UK's longstanding commitment to deepening co-operation and engagement in the Indo-Pacific."

Throughout the exercise, the Voyager will provide fuel to both the RAF Typhoons and fast jets from other participating nations.

Squadron Leader Andy Brown, Voyager Detachment Commander, said: "Enabling the deployment of four Typhoons halfway around the world is a great example of the essential air mobility role Voyager delivers in the projection of RAF air power.

"The challenge of ensuring a smooth and safe global transit has proven excellent training which will continue once the exercise commences."

Group Captain Peter Wood, RAAF Director Engagement, said: "International participation in Exercise Pitch Black, from within the Indo-Pacific region and further abroad, provides all nations' personnel with experience in working with aircraft, systems and work practices, in northern Australia's unique environment that would otherwise be unfamiliar."

Exercise Pitch Black will run from 19 August to 8 September.