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    Thursday, July 26, 2012 | 4:50 PM | 0 Comments

    Berita Foto : 'Pitch Black' sees enemy battle played out over Darwin

    Darwin - 'Pitch Black' is the largest air force exercise in the Southern Hemisphere, and is held bi-annually in Top End skies.

    This year, a new addition to the multi-lateral exercise has come on board: Indonesia. The country's involvement signals growing cooperation and is being tooted as a historic steo in bi-lateral relations.



    Indonesia expressed suspicion over Australia's move to host 2500 US marines in Darwin when US President Barack Obama made the announcement late last year. Since then, Darwin has hosted Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for high level talks with the Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

    During the Indonesian President's visit, Australia gifted Indonesia a decommissioned Hercules aircraft, to be used in disaster relief around the region.

    The gift was coupled with a Memorandum of Understanding, aimed at boosting regional cooperation between the two nations.



    RAAF Darwin Group Captain David Thiele said Exercise Pitch Black posed two hypothetical forces against each other, with the 'bad guys' based at Tindil, Katherine.

    He said the airspace between Darwin and Katherine was one of the best in the world. "Simply the size of it - if you were to compare it to air spaces such as Singapore, you'll see they have a very small operating area. This is an opportunity to get out and test their tactics, test their procedures," Captain Thiele said.



    Noise levels are expected to disturb some residents in Darwin; a fact Captain Thiele says can't be avoided.

    "We do acknowledge Pitch Black brings with it an increased level of noise...we do minimise night activity until later in the exercise. Aircraft will be operating in their normal war time profiles," he said.



    "This is an outstanding opportunity to see a number of very professional nations come together for a major exercise."

    RAAF Darwin will host an open Day on August 11 for the public to tour the base and aircraft involved in Pitch Black.

    A flying display is planned for August 9 over Mindil Markets.

    Source : ABC.NET.AU

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