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IAF Sukhoi Su-30MKIs refuel midair, fly with F/A-18 Hornet fighters during Exercise Pitch Black 2018

IAF Sukhoi Su-30MKIs refuel midair, fly with F/A-18 Hornet fighters during Exercise Pitch Black 2018

“This is how friendships are formed.”

DARWIN: “This is how friendships are formed.”

For the first time ever, Royal Australia Air Force (RAAF) and Indian Air Force (IAF) fast-jets flew together over Australian soil at Exercise Pitch Black 2018 on Thursday. Before taking the maiden flight together, members of the Indian and Australian contingents trained alongside to build a cohesive combat team.

Tweeting a video of the exercise, the IAF wrote, “#ExPitchBlack18 : During the FIT week, RAAF & IAF trained together to build a cohesive combat team. Air to Air Refueling offers Rapid Response, Larger Ranges & Enhanced Loiter Time. Glimpses of AAR from Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) – RAAF’s KC30A to IAF’s SU-30MKI.”

“#PitchBlack2018: During the Flying Integration Training, IAF contingent interacted with the Crew of French Air Force. This International exercise contributes towards operational training of our crew & reinforces military cooperation with the participating friendly Nations,” added the IAF.

Later, the RAAF tweeted, “This is how friendships are formed. Watch how this week #AusAirForce F/A-18 #Hornets and @IAF_MCC Sukhoi Su-30MKIs flew together for the first time ever over Australian soil at #ExPitchBlack18. #AvGeek #AirPower #AirCombat”

Writing about the experience, Australian airforce said, “No. 77 Squadron (77SQN) pilot Flight Lieutenant (FLTLT) Vincent had the honour of being among the first in the RAAF to take on the IAF’s highly manoeuvrable multi-role Sukhoi Su-30.”

Earlier this week, a part of Indian Air Force (IAF) contingent, comprising of SU-30MKI and C-130 aircraft, undertook its maiden operations from Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) base in Darwin, Australia on Monday.

Operation Pitch Black, one of the biggest exercises of its kinds, is till August 17. More than 140 aircraft and 4000 personnel from several countries are participating in the Operation Pitch Black in Australia.

The Indian contingent in Australia is being led by Group Captain CUV Rao and includes a Garud Team, four SU-30 MKI, one X C-130 and a X C-17 aircraft. The other countries participating – apart from hosts Australia – are France (New Caledonia), Singapore, Indonesia, US, Thailand, Malaysia, Canada, Germany, Netherlands and New Zealand.


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