RAAF F-35A aircraft to participate in Exercise Pitch Black 2022

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F-35A Lightning II aircraft is scheduled to take part in the multinational exercise Pitch Black 2022.

This is the first time the RAAF will deploy its F-35As, which will replace the F/A-18A/B Classic Hornet that took part in the latest iterations of the exercise.

The RAAF’s fifth generation aircraft from No. 3 and No. 75 Squadrons will be deployed to demonstrate their capabilities in a multinational air combat environment.

RAAF No. 3 Squadron Commander Wing Commander Adrian Kiely said: ‘Exercise Pitch Black is the largest Australian-based international exercise No 81 Wing has participated in since the transition to the F -35A and we are excited about the opportunity to integrate the jet’s advanced capabilities with so many of our international partners.

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

“Our goal for Pitch Black is to enhance international integration, which is paramount to further improving our ability to unite as a highly effective and interoperable force.”

The latest iteration of Pitch Black will be held from August 19 to September 8 in the Northern Territory and Queensland.

Around 17 nations are expected to take part in this year’s biannual major force employment exercise in Australia.

Participating countries are the UK, USA, France, India, Germany, Canada, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand.

The three-week exercise will primarily be conducted from RAAF Base Darwin and RAAF Base Tindal, and could also include RAAF Base Amberley near Ipswich this year.

The exercise aims to demonstrate the RAAF’s commitment to strengthening military relationships with allied and partner nations.

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