More than 2,500 personnel and 100 aircraft from 16 countries have commenced the multinational biennial exercise Pitch Black 2022.

The exercise, which started on 19 August, will continue until 8 September in the Northern Territory.

The participating nations include the US, Australia, the Netherlands, Canada, Japan, Germany, New Zealand, Indonesia, and the UAE.

The exercise aims to strengthen relationships and interoperability between the military forces.

It will also support Australia’s initiative to enhance regional security and establish closer ties in the Indo- Pacific region.

Throughout the duration of this three-week-long exercise, the participating forces will primarily be based at Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Darwin and RAAF Base Tindal, along with supporting elements from RAAF Amberley.

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The latest iteration of the exercise will involve day and night flying, which will be conducted in consideration to reduce the impact on the local community and environment.

Exercise commander air commodore Tim Alsop said: “Pitch Black is a large force employment exercise, driven by fighter combat scenarios.

“This year, significant efforts have been made to advance air-to-air refuelling capability between many participating nations.

“Air-to-air refuelling is a force multiplier, providing essential reach to our combat aircraft.

“Working with many of participating nations aims to increase our force projection and maximise our capability.”

According to the RAAF, the Pitch Black exercise provides an opportunity for the participating forces to evaluate and hone their skills and force integration in a simulated combat environment.

This integration of forces will further provide direct support to the Air Force’s ability to conduct missions.

It is also the first time that the RAAF’s F-35A Lightning II aircraft is participating in this exercise.