As part of a major air combat exercise, “Pitch Black 2010”, the RAAF’s fleet of F-111’s will see their final major exercise.
Exercise Pitch Black 10 (PB10) is a three week multi-national air combat exercise, in Northern Australia taking place from 16th July – 6th August 2010.
PB10 involves a combination of day and night flying from RAAF bases at Darwin (DAR) and Tindal (TDL).
The exercise involves participants from the Australian Army and elements of the Singapore, New Zealand and Thailand air forces that will participate in the tasking, planning and execution of Offensive Counter Air (OCA) and Offensive Air Support (OAS) operations in a coalition environment.
Four F-111s from No. 6 Squadron RAAF Amberley, Qld are taking part in the exercise. Wing Commader Micka Gray, Commanding Officer No. 6 Squadron, said:
“The F-111 was an aircraft ahead of its time. It was one of the first twin-engine swing-wing aircraft and has enormous flexibility for range and endurance”.
“No. 6 Squadron has a long and proud history. I am sure the end of 2010 will be an emotional time for many people… But for now we have F-111s to prepare, fly and fight”.
The F-111 arrived at Amberley in 1973 and after 37 years is the longest current serving aircraft in the Royal Australian Air Force’s fleet.
The F-111 Pave Tack targeting system can locate targets at night and in bad weather and provides laser designation for laser-guided weapons. The radar warning system detects incoming radar emissions and alerts the crew to potential surface or air attacks.
The F-111 remains a vital component of Australia’s air combat capability in concert with the F/A-18 Classic and Super Hornets. The F-111s will return to Darwin for Exercises Kakadu and Singaroo later next month and will be farewelled from service at the end of the year.