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NZDF joins Exercise Pitch Black in Australia’s Northern Territory

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is bringing its supporting skills to a large-scale multi-national exercise in Australia’s Northern Territory.

19 August, 2022

Exercise Pitch Black is a biennial three-week exercise in a predominantly air coalition environment. This year’s exercise takes place from 19 August to 8 September and involves up to 2,500 personnel from 16 countries, and up to 100 aircraft.

The NZDF effort for this exercise focuses on air base enabler trade groups, which are critical in the delivery of air power.

More than 60 NZDF personnel have been embedded with Royal Australian Air Force units in Darwin and Tindal to support the exercise.

Multinational exercises such as Pitch Black provide opportunities for enabling trades to deploy and operate from a remote location outside of New Zealand, strengthen relationships with other militaries, and promote regional security through multinational interoperability.

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NZDF personnel are contributing their support skills to Exercise Pitch Black in Australia’s Northern Territory (file photos)

The NZDF is contributing security forces and military working dogs, chefs, communication and information system technicians, medics, ground support equipment technicians, aviation refuellers, military police, air movers, intelligence specialists, logistics officers, and firefighters.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force’s Flight Lieutenant Shirley Barakuta is the NZDF detachment commander for the exercise.

“Exercise Pitch Black offers us an amazing opportunity to work with a range of other nations,” she said.

“This is my first time planning an exercise of this size, and although we are a small team I am very confident in the range of capabilities our people bring to enable air operations throughout the exercise.”