266th RANS bring the threat to Pitch Black


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 our processes.”

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.