Exercise Pitch Black 2018


Exercise Pitch Black is a biennial three week multi-national large force employment exercise conducted from RAAF Base Darwin and RAAF Base Tindal.

Exercise Pitch Black 2018 will be held from 27 July to 17 August 2018. 

Exercises such as Pitch Black 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 4000 personnel and up to 140 aircraft from around the globe including participants from Australia, Canada, France (New Caledonia), Germany, Indonesia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, India, Malaysia and the United States and will include day and night flying.

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.


According to a story in Australian Aviation, this will be the biggest Pitch Black Exercise held to date.

French Dassault Rafales, Indian Sukhoi Su-30s and Thai Saab Gripens are among the foreign aircraft to have deployed to the Northern Territory for the Royal Australian Air Force’s major multinational large-force employment exercise Pitch Black, which kicked off on Friday.

The 2018 edition of Exercise Pitch Black features up to 4,000 personnel and up to 140 aircraft from 16 participating nations. It runs until August 17 and is being held at RAAF Base Darwin and RAAF Base Tindal, as well as Bradshaw Field Training Area and Delamere Air Weapons Range…..

Canadian CC-130 Hercules, French Dassault Rafale, Indian Sukhoi Su-30MKI, Indonesian F-16, Malaysian Airbus A400M, Singaporean F-15, Thai Saab JAS 39 Gripen and USAF Boeing B-52 Stratofortress aircraft are among the 140 participating types to have come to Australia.

Meanwhile, participating RAAF aircraft includes the F/A-18F, E/A-18G, C-130J and KC-30, among others.


In an article published by Jaryd Strock published by the Aviation Photography Digest, the focus of Pitch Black 2018 was discussed: