New Delhi, Jul 19: The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) fighter aircraft will participate in Exercise Pitch Black 2018 (PB-18) in Australia. Ex Pitch Black is a biennial multi-national large force employment warfare exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). This will be the first time that IAF will be a part of the exercise which is scheduled from July 24, 2018 to August 18, 2018. (ALSO READ – AgustaWestland Chopper Deal: ED Files Charge Sheet, Names Former IAF Chief SP Tyagi)

The IAF contingent consists of 145 air-warriors including the Garud team along with its four frontline Su-30 MKI Fighters, One C-130 and one heavy lift C-17 aircraft. After assembling at Air Force Station Kalaikunda, the contingent will depart for the exercise on July 19 from India to Australia via Indonesia. The leader of the contingent is Group Captain CUV Rao VM.

During the exercise, the participating team will aim to undertake simulated air combat exercises in a controlled environment and mutual exchange of best practices towards enhancing IAF operational capability.

During the flight from India to Australia and back, Su-30 MKI will carry out air to air refueling with IL-78 tankers.

After completion of the exercise, on its return leg from Darwin to Subang, Su-30 MKI will be refuelled in air for the first time by RAAF KC-30A. In Australia, the IAF will participate in the mega exercise, which will involve over 100 aircraft from around the globe.

The exercise will provide unique opportunity for exchange of knowledge and experience with these nations in a dynamic warfare environment. Participation in multinational air exercise assumes importance in view of the continued engagement of the IAF with friendly foreign countries.

Over the last decade, IAF has been actively participating in operational exercises hosted by various countries, wherein collaborative engagements undertaken with the best air forces in the world. During the transit to Australia, IAF contingent will also have constructive engagement with Indonesian and Malaysian Air Forces.

(Inputs from ANI)