IAF contingent participates in Exercise Pitch Black for first time

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New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) An Indian Air Force contingent comprising of four frontline Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter aircraft on Tuesday participated in Exercise Pitch Black-2018, a multinational exercise hosted by Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

The fighters, supported by a C-130J Super Hercules and a C-17 Globemaster-III, landed at Darwin Air Force Base in Australia, a Defence Ministry spokesperson said.

This is the first time the IAF is participating in this exercise that involves over 100 aircraft from around the globe operating in a dynamic warlike environment.

“Su-30 MKI aircraft flew across the ocean to once again demonstrate our strategic reach and professionalism. As part of military diplomacy and reassuring our neighbours of our commitment to regional peace and security, while en-route to Australia, IAF engaged with the Indonesian and Malaysian Air Forces,” an official statement said.

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As a part of Commonwealth countries, India and Australia have always enjoyed amicable bilateral relations and air forces of both the countries have participated in the Second World War.

“After the success of recently concluded Exercise Gaganshakti 2018, IAF engagement with Indonesian and Malayasian Air Forces and participation in the Exercise Pitch Black-18 in Australia, IAF will once again showcase its capability to be an effective net security provider in the region,” the statement said.

Scheduled from July 24 to August 18, Exercise Pitch Black is a biennial multi-national large force employment exercise conducted from RAAF bases Darwin and Tindal.

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 are undertaken with the best air forces in the world.

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