MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho --
The Royal Australian Air Force invited the 266th Range Squadron to it largest exercise, Pitch Black, July 29 to Aug. 19.
More than 2,800 personnel and 115
aircraft from 10 nations participated in the exercise to simulate a large-force
militarized zone near Royal Australian Air Force Bases Darwin and Tindal.
“The beauty of Pitch Black is that we can
bring everyone together in two locations and exercise in a massive piece of
airspace,” said RAAF Group Captain Davies, task unit commander of Exercise
Pitch Black. “This enhances our capabilities, allowing us to review and refine
Six personnel from the 266th RANS
transported and operated two joint Threat Emitters during the exercise. Each
emitter acted as a target with various simulated anti-air capabilities for
pilots participating in the event.
“When [a pilot] goes into a
[hostile environment] they may see real surface-to-air missiles. In an ideal
situation we want that to not be the first time they see something like that,” said
Senior Master Sgt. Warren Davis, 266th RANS chief of maintenance. “On a real
mission, everything becomes second nature.”
The exercise placed a high value on
regional security and fostering closer ties throughout the Asia-Pacific Region
by involving countries such as New Zealand, Thailand and Indonesia, among others.
Ash Carter, United States secretary
of defense, has also expressed the Department of Defense’ interest of
refocusing on the Asia-Pacific Region. Relations with allies in the area is
only bolstered through training exercises such as Pitch Black.