SHAH ALAM: Pitch Black 2020 Canceled. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has officially announced the Pitch Black 2020 air exercise has been canceled due to the travel restrictions imposed in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic.
From NT News Australia, go here (paywall)
To ensure compliance with COVID-19-related Government restrictions and to protect our personnel, their families and the community, Exercise Pitch Black will not be conducted in 2020,” a Defence Department spokesman told the NT News
The cancellation was expected really as the Australian government had already said the travel restrictions imposed by the country was expected to end only later this year. Pitch Black 2020 was supposed this July to August.
Exercise Pitch Black is coming back to the Northern Territory in 2020 over the period 24 July to 14 August.
The exercise is a biennial three week multi-national large force employment exercise conducted primarily from RAAF Base Darwin and RAAF Base Tindal. RAAF Base Amberley will also be included in the exercise this year.
Exercise Pitch Black 20 is the Royal Australian Air Force’s biennial capstone International Engagement activity with forces participating from a wide range of regional, coalition and allied nations developing and enhancing military relationships at all levels.
Exercises such as this are pivotal to ensuring Air Force remains ready to respond whenever the Australian Government requires. The training and integration of forces that occurs during this exercise directly supports Air Force’s ability to conduct operations.
Exercise Pitch Black features a range of realistic, simulated threats which can be found in a modern battle-space environment and is an opportunity to test and improve our force integration, utilising one of the largest training airspace areas in the world — Bradshaw Field Training Area and Delamere Air Weapons Range.
The exercise hosts up to 3500 personnel and up to 120 aircraft from around the globe including participants from Australia, Canada, France (New Caledonia), Germany, Indonesia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Republic of Korea and the United States. Japan will also be participating for the first time.
Activities such as Exercise Pitch Black recognises the strong relationship Australia has with its participant nations and the high value it places on regional security and fostering closer ties throughout the Asia Pacific region.
Two years ago, the Hornets from the No. 18th Squadron took part in the exercise. This year, the talk was that the Flankers from the No 11 Squadron was supposed to take part. However the pandemic changed all of that planning.
Apart from Pitch Black, the inaugural Bersama Lima exercise this year which was supposed to start on April 7 was also cancelled.
Off topic – the RMAF recently released pictures of a CN-235 on a maritime patrol mission. The observer stood behind the pilots and used his binoculars through the aircraft windshield.