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SOURCE : ANI

IAF Su-30 MKI aircraft on their way back from Australia after completing the first phase of Exercise Pitch Black 2022 in Australia, received fuel from a Royal Australian Air Force MRTT aircraft, according to Indian Air Force.

“IAF Su-30 MKI aircraft on their way back from Australia after a successful ExPitchBlack22-receiving fuel from a Royal Australian Air Force MRTT aircraft. Ta for this one for the road. Hooroo mates!” IAF tweeted. Exercise Pitch Black was conducted from August 19 – September 8 this year.

Previously, the exercise was scheduled to be held in 2018 but the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled all the plans and after a hiatus of four years, it was re-scheduled this year, according to a statement released by the Defence Ministry.

“The IAF contingent, led by Group Captain YPS Negi, comprises over 100 air warriors, deployed with four Su-30 MKI fighter and two C-17 aircraft. They will undertake multi-domain air combat missions in a complex environment and will exchange best practices with the participating air forces,” as per the statement.

PBK22 is Air Force’s biennial capstone international engagement activity with key strategic partners.

This year’s participants included Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, India, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, UAE, the UK and the US.

Significantly, Germany, Japan, and the Republic of Korea will be participating fully for the first time.

PBK22 Director Engagement Group Captain Peter Wood said he was pleased to see a return to Pitch Black after the extended break, added the release.

“International participation in Exercise Pitch Black, from within the Indo-Pacific region and further abroad, provides all nations’ personnel with experience in working with aircraft, systems and work practices, in northern Australia’s unique environment, that would otherwise be unfamiliar,” Group Captain Wood said.

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