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German Air Force joining Australian maneuvers for first time

German Air Force Rapid Pacific Eurofighter livery
German Eurofighters, including an airframe with a livery commemorating the Rapid Pacific 2022 deployment are poised to deploy to the Pacific on August 15, 2022. Photo: German Air Force

The German Air Force is poised to take part in Australia’s multi-national exercise Pitch Black for the first time.

Travelling to Australia as part of the Rapid Pacific deployment, the Luftwaffe will arrive in mid-August with more than 200 personnel, six Eurofighter Typhoons, three A330 multi-role tanker transports and an A400M transport aircraft.

Chief of the German Air Force Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz said this is the first time the German and Australian air forces have trained together.

It should be noted that in addition to Germany, Japan and the Republic of Korea are expected to participate fully for the first time.

Lieutenant General Gerhartz will fly himself in a Eurofighter during exercises Pitch Black and Kakadu, through to Japan following the exercises.

“The Indo-Pacific is of great importance to Germany. We share the same values with many partners in this region,” Lieutenant General Gerhartz said.

“Defending those values in case of a war emergency and being able to support our partners is something that needs to be practised.”

The German Eurofighter is a multi-role aircraft employed in air-to-air as well as air-to-ground combat – both at close range and from a long distance.

The German Air Force with its Eurofighters also assumes responsibility in Europe and within NATO for securing the airspace – this includes the quick reaction alert element in Estonia, and working closely with Italian and UK air forces in Romania.

The German government has recently agreed to procure F-35 aircraft to replace the Tornado weapon system, with Pitch Black providing an opportunity to integrate more closely with Australia’s F-35A.

“The F-35 aircraft will further expand the broad spectrum of our capabilities. Since the Royal Australian Air Force is already flying this combat aircraft, we will be able to learn from them as well,” Lieutenant General Gerhartz said.

Following Exercise Pitch Black, the Luftwaffe will participate in Exercise Kakadu before continuing their Rapid Pacific deployment to Japan and the Republic of Korea.

Pitch Black is a biennial three week multi-national large force employment exercise that will be taking place primarily from RAAF Base Darwin and RAAF Base Tindal. RAAF Base Amberley, located near Ipswich will also be included in the exercise this year.

Exercise Pitch Black 2022 is the Royal Australian Air Force’s most significant international engagement activity with forces participating from a range of partner and allied nations developing and enhancing military relationships at all levels.

Pitch Black will feature a range of realistic, simulated threats which can be found in a modern battle-space environment and is an opportunity to test and improve force integration.

The exercise will host up to 2500 personnel and up to 100 aircraft from around the globe including participants from Australia, France, Germany, Indonesia, India, Singapore, Japan, Republic of Korea, UK, the Philippines, Thailand, UAE, Canada, Netherlands, Malaysia, New Zealand and the US.