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Flying high for exercise Pitch Black.



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DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE MEDIA RELEASE PACC 328/02 Wednesday, 3 July, 2002

FLYING HIGH FOR EXERCISE PITCH BLACK

RAAF Bases Amberley (QLD) and Williamtown (NSW) will play host this month to Australia's most important domestic Air Combat exercise - Pitch Black 2002.

From July 15 to August 1, personnel from Australia and Singapore will work together to hone their combat skills in attack and defence.

Exercise Pitch Black will also test the inter-operability of Australian Air Force and Army elements, with those of allied nations.

F-16 fighters and RF-5 reconnaissance jets from the Republic of Singapore Air Force have begun arriving in Amberley in South Queensland to commence practicing for the exercise.

From Australia's Air Combat Group there will be F/A-18 Hornet fighters, F-111 strike and reconnaissance aircraft and Hawk Lead In Fighters.

The fast jets will be supported by a variety of larger aircraft from both nations including C-130 Hercules and Caribou transports, a KC-135 tanker, and an E-2 Hawkeye Airborne Early Warning and Control Aircraft.

While the aircrew battle it out in the skies, Air Defence personnel will be working to keep them in the picture, with information taken from a variety of ground and airborne radars deployed to the areas of operation.

The crews will also face a threat from below in the form of surface-to-air missile batteries from the Australian Army's 16th Air Defence Regiment normally based at Woodside near Adelaide.

All in all, there will be up to 57 jets and over 900 people supporting the exercise.

While all aircraft will be launching from and returning to Williamtown and Amberley, exercise flying will take place

either over the ocean or in the north west of New South Wales, where care will be taken to avoid identified noise sensitive areas.

Pitch Black 2002 is the largest exercise of its type to be held in Australia and forms a critical part in maintaining the preparedness of Australia's Air Combat Assets.

Media Contact: Squadron Leader Lindsay Dooley Ph 0418 269686