Sunday, September 2, 2012


Part 2 of Pitch Black 2012 - Pitch Black is a military a exercise staged ever 2yrs in the north of Australia by the RAAF - Royal Australian Air Force - to train and push to the limit aircrew so they can work in a realistic combat environment. Flying from 2 main basses RAAF Darwin and RAAF Tindal in the Northern Territory - the top end of Australia as the local like to call themselves - the RAAF alongside the US, RSAF, RTAF and Indonesian Air Force pitted 2 teams - Blue and Red forces against each other to simulate operational strike packages trying to attack targets, while been intercepted by barrier air patrols of fighters.

This year's exercise brought for the first time the Indonesia Air Force with Su-27, Su-30 Flankers and C-130 Hercules. Normally these aircraft aren't seen in Australia let alone a tactical exercise like PB 2012.

On August 11 the RAAF held special static display Open Day for residents of Darwin to come see up close some of the aircraft used on the 3 week exercise. The heat and humidity of Darwin wasn't too bad this year with bright sunny weather and wind on the day. From 9am to 4pm the Bombing ramp was a sea of people mixing with olive flight suits and grey metal machines.

A variety of aircraft such as F/A-18 Hornets A and F models, SU-27/30 Flankers, King Airs 350, F-16 Viper ADF, F-16D Viper , F-15E Strike Eagle, AP-3C Orion, C-130H Hercules, KC-135R Stratotanker along with some vintage aircraft - Tigermoth, Harvard and Auster were all on show.

This article reviews the F-15 Strike Eagle operated by the RSAF and the F-16C/D Vipers operated by RSAF and RTAF.

All flying photos by Adam Burgan and static photos by myself.

F-15E Strike Eagles

F-16 Vipers

Next article will have C-130 Hercules, P-3 Orions and KC-135 Stratoanker. Further future stories will cover ARH Tiger, King Air, SU-27/30 Flankers, warbirds display and ground displays.

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