Royal Air Force Typhoon Fighter Jets Arrive In Australia for Exercise Pitch Black

Royal Air Force Typhoon fighter jets and a Voyager Air-to-Air refuelling tanker have arrived in Australia to participate in a major training exercise. Hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force, Exercise Pitch Black will see up to a 100 aircraft and around 2500 personnel from 17 nations train together for three weeks. Held biennially, the large force employment exercise will be conducted primarily from Royal Australian Air Force bases Darwin and Tindal in the Northern Territory. During the exercise the RAF contingent will join European NATO Allies from France and Germany to exercise with Royal Australian Air Force aircraft and also aircraft from regional powers such as Japan, the Republic of Korea and Singapore. Throughout the exercise the Voyager will provide fuel to both the RAF Typhoons and fast jets from other participating nations.

“Enabling the deployment of four Typhoons half way around the world is a great example of the essential air mobility role Voyager delivers in the projection of RAF air power. The challenge of ensuring a smooth and safe global transit has proven excellent training which will continue once the exercise commences,”Squadron Leader Brown

Voyager Detachment Commander said.

“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 Royal Australian Air Force Director Engagement said.

“The relationship between the RAF and Royal Australian Air Force is a close and enduring one and we’re delighted to be invited to participate in what promises to be a very realistic and challenging exercise. The high-end training and complex exercise environment offered by Pitch Black combined with the opportunity to share best practise with so many other partners and allies is invaluable. Our presence here is also a further demonstration of the UK’s longstanding commitment to deepening cooperation and engagement in the Indo-Pacific,” Wing Commander Rees

Officer Commanding 6 Squadron said.

The Eurofighter Typhoon is a European multinational twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter. The Typhoon was designed originally as an air superiority fighter and is manufactured by a consortium of Airbus, BAE Systems and Leonardo that conducts the majority of the project through a joint holding company, Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH. The NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency, representing the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain, manages the project and is the prime customer. The UK’s first Typhoon Development Aircraft (DA-2) ZH588 made its maiden flight on 6 April 1994 from Warton. On 1 September 2002, No. XVII (Reserve) Squadron was reformed at Warton as the Typhoon Operational Evaluation Unit (TOEU), receiving its first aircraft on 18 December 2003. 160 ordered, all of which had been delivered by September 2019. As of 1 April 2020, the RAF had 139 aircraft with 101 in service.