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Exercise PITCH Black

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  • Published
    3rd Aug, 2022


The Indian Air Force (IAF) will join 16 other nations, including Quad partner countries for Exercise Pitch Black, the biennial exercise hosted by the Australian Air Force.


  • The warfare exercise takes place once every two years and is hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
  • The aim of this exercise is to practice Offensive Counter Air (OCA) and Defensive Counter Air (DCA) combat. 
    • The exercise takes place in a simulated war environment.
  • The first Pitch Black exercise took place on June 15-16 1981 between the RAAF units.

About India-Australia Defence cooperation

  • Defence Cooperation between India and Australia has expanded significantly in recent years.
  • An MoU on Defence Cooperation has been signed as well as a Joint Declaration on Security Co-operation was signed.
  • There are frequent exchanges of visits including at the level of Service Chiefs, regular Naval, Air Force, and Army Talks; joint naval exercises; regular exchanges at each other’s training institutes and seminars.
  • The Defence Minister of Australia visited India in December 2011 for Defence Ministers’ Dialogue.
  • The India-Australia defence relationship now encompasses almost every major function of the military: strategic dialogues, coordination, and information exchanges; military exercises involving ground, air, and maritime forces; exchanges and training; and defence scientific and technological cooperation.

India-Australia Military Cooperation

    • The Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region in Gurugram is an Indian initiative to boost maritime security and response through the exchange of information related to the ships in the Indian Ocean Region.
  • Strategic Dialogue
    • In June 2020, Australia and India decided to upgrade their Secretaries 2+2 dialogue (Defence and Foreign Affairs) to the Ministerial level.
    • Ministers from the two countries will meet at least every two years to engage in the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
    • The two leaders of the countries have established a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
  • Exercise Malabar
    • Australia participated in the MALABAR naval exercise in October 2020, joining India, the United States, and Japan.
    • The exercise brought together four regional defence partners and democracies, demonstrating a collective resolve to support an open and prosperous Indo-Pacific.
    • High-end military exercises like MALABAR are also key to enhancing all the countries’ maritime capabilities and building interoperability with close partners.
    • Engagement between the Royal Australian Navy and the Indian Navy has advanced significantly through the key bilateral exercise, AUSINDEX.
    • The third edition of the biennial exercise saw Australia send its largest-ever defence deployment to India, including four ships, Australian Army forces, and RAAF aircraft, comprising more than 1000 Australian personnel.
  • Pitch Black
    • For the first time, the Indian Air Force participated in Exercise Pitch Black in Darwin in 2018.
    • Australia’s multilateral exercise involves air forces from several Australian allies and partner countries.
    • India’s participation was additionally significant for staging the first mid-air refueling of an IAF combat aircraft (Su-30MKI) by a RAAF aircraft (KC-30A), revealing a degree of coordination not previously demonstrated.
  • Shared Military Platforms
    • Australian and Indian militaries have become increasingly interoperable through the growing number of shared platforms, thereby increasing opportunities for joint training.
    • These include C-17 strategic transport aircraft, C-130 tactical transport aircraft, P-8 maritime reconnaissance aircraft, and Chinook heavy-lift helicopters.

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