Hornets Taking Part in Pitch Black 2024

Some of the Hornets preparing to leave for Pitch Black 2018. Malaysian Defence picture.

SHAH ALAM: RMAF is sending an unknown number of its F/A-18D Hornets to Australia next month to take part in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Pitch Black 2024 (PB) exercise next month. Checks with RAAF PB website showed that the RMAF contingent will be part of the twenty-one strong countries taking part in the exercise.

RMAF sent five Hornets and a single A400M airlifter to Pitch Black 2018, the second time it took part in the exercise. The first was back in 2008. For the 2018 exercise, RMAF brought the media to Butterworth airbase to see the departure of the PB contingent. It is unclear how many Hornets will be sent this time around though.

Some of the officers and men taking part in Exercise Pitch Black 2018 at the sending off ceremony at Butterworth air base. Malaysian Defence picture.

RMAF was supposed to send the Su-30MKM Flankers in 2020 but the exercise was cancelled due to the pandemic. It did not take part in the last PB exercise held in 2022.
RAAF Base Darwin will open its tarmac to the public for the Exercise Pitch Black 24 Open Day between 9am-4pm on Saturday, 20 July 2024. Note the RMAF aircraft on the graphic. RAAF

PB 2024 will be held from July 12 July to August 2, at RAAF Base Darwin and RAAF Base Tindal in the Northern Territory; with additional aircraft operating from RAAF Base Amberley, located near Ipswich in Queensland.

The release from RAAF PB 2024 web page:

Exercise Pitch Black returns from 12 July to 2 August 2024, and the Royal Australian Air Force would like to thank communities across northern Australia once again for their interest and tremendous support.

Held every two years, Exercise Pitch Black focuses on large force employment missions involving large numbers of international aircraft.

Exercise Pitch Black 24 will be the largest in the exercise’s 43-year history. It will bring together 21 international participants and over 140 aircraft from around the world, with approximately 4435 personnel participating.

This year’s exercise will be conducted primarily from RAAF Base Darwin and RAAF Base Tindal in the Northern Territory; with additional aircraft operating from RAAF Base Amberley, located near Ipswich in Queensland.

Exercise Pitch Black is the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) most significant flying activity for strengthening international engagement and enhancing our ability to work with overseas partners.

The exercise ensures Air Force is responsive whenever the Australian Government requires. It allows Australia to contribute to the sovereign security of participating nations, ensuring they too are ready to respond to contingency operations.

For international participants, there is significant benefit to participating in Exercise Pitch Black 24. It provides experience in how to deploy over great distances, with some countries travelling from around the globe to reach Australia.

A400M M54-04 and the five Hornets bound for Darwin for Pitch Black 2018 lined up for the sending off ceremony on July 24, 2018.

It must be noted that some of the contingents from Europe – Germany and France and India – are scheduled for stop-overs in Malaysia before and after taking part in the exercise. Germany is expected to have a stop-over at Subang airbase – to and fro to Oz, France on the return journey while India is stopping over in Kuantan after attending the exercise. So far only India is expected to conduct training with their Malaysian counterparts.
The IAF Su-30MKI Flankers shortly after their arrival at Kuantan Airbase on August 12 2022. The contingent stopped at Kuantan after taking part in Pitch Black 2022. RMAF

–Malaysian Defence.

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About Marhalim Abas 2226 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Why always the Hornet? Is it because the RMAF has to limit MKM flying hours?

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