Pitch Black Exercise Current Affairs - 2020

Exercise Pitch Black Cancelled

The biennial warfare exercise hosted by Royal Australian Air Force was cancelled due to COVID-19 threats.

Exercise Pitch Black

The main aim of the exercise is to practice Defensive Counter Air combat and Offensive Counter Air Combat. The exercise is held in Northern Australia. The first pitch black exercise took place in June 1981.


In 1990, the exercise began its training including Singapore. Later on, slowly, it began to spread to other international forces.


In 2006, for the first time, more countries participated in the exercise. It included Thailand, Singapore, UK, US and Australia.


In 2008, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization also joined the exercise. The NATO was formed in 1949. It is an intergovernmental military alliance between 30 North American and European countries.


In 2010, New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand alone were the participants. The exercise was then held in 2012, 2014, 2016 and also in 2018.

India in the exercise

In 2018, India participated in the exercise for the first time. Around 131 aircraft were involved and more than 4,000 personnel participated in the exercise. This also included Canada, France, Australia, Germany, Netherlands, Indonesia, Thailand, US, Malaysia.


The bilateral and defence relations between India and Australia has gone up in the recent years. The countries jointly hold AUSINDEX, naval exercise with more than 1000 personnel participating in the exercise.

The countries are planning to sign Mutual Logistics Support Agreement that has been pending for a long time. The Maritime Domain Awareness agreement is also under discussion between the two countries.

Pitch Black 2018 Exercise concludes in Australia

Pitch Black – 18 (PB-18), biennia multinational air exercise hosted by Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) concluded recently Darwin, Australia. It was the largest Pitch Black ever conducted by Australia, which saw participation of 16 nations and more than 140 aircraft, the current edition.

India’s Participation: In this edition of exercise, Indian Air Force (IAF) for the first time participated with air assets and in earlier exercises it had participated as observer. IAF contingent consisted of 145 air-warriors including IAF Commandos team, Garuds, four Su-30 MKI, one C-130 and one C-17 for logistic support for induction and de-induction.

Pitch Black – 18

The objectives of this exercise were to foster closer relationship between participating friendly forces and promote interoperability through exchange of knowledge and experience. Its aim was to expose participating nations to operational environment in international scenarios.

It comprised of two phases. During first phase, forces flew basic missions with aim to get to same working platform. Subsequently in second phase, missions involved larger packages and undertook simulated air combat exercises in near realistic environment and exchanged best practices towards for enhancing operational capability.

During the exercise, IAF for the first time conducted various day and night operations. It also provided it unique opportunity for exchange of knowledge and experience with participating nations in dynamic warfare environment.

Pitch Black Exercise

It is a biennial warfare exercise hosted by Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). It is normally held in Northern Australia, primarily at RAAF Bases Darwin and Tindal. The first Pitch Black exercises took place in 1981 between different RAAF units. Later in 1990, it began as training exercise between Australia and Singapore and then was expanded as multilateral exercises by inviting international air forces with which Australia has defence ties. The aim of exercise is to practice Offensive Counter Air (OCA) and Defensive Counter Air (DCA) combat, in simulated war environment. It traditionally consists of red team and blue team based at separate locations, with one attacking other.