An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Sept. 13, 2022

Pitch Black 2022 Concludes International Interoperability Exercise

By Staff Sgt. Savannah Waters Pacific Air Forces

DARWIN, Australia Approximately 110 U.S. Airmen from Pacific Air Forces participated in Exercise Pitch Black 2022, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Chief of Air Force’s biennial capstone international engagement activity with forces drawn from a wide range of regional, coalition and Allied nations. This year, 17 nations participated in PB22 from Aug. 19 to Sept. 8, 2022.

The exercise focused on the tactical execution of Large Force Employment Offensive Counter Air and Counter Land operations in a multi-national coalition environment to enhance interoperability among the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, and United Kingdom forces.

“The objective of the United States is to have a free and open Indo-Pacific for all nations within this region,” said U.S. Air Force Gen. Ken Wilsbach, Pacific Air Forces commander. “The main idea behind our strategy in the Indo-Pacific, specifically PACAF, is to work with Allies and partners, and Pitch Black represents a perfect place for our air forces to train together and become interoperable.”

Up to 2,500 personnel and 100 aircraft from around the world operated from RAAF Darwin and RAAF Tindal to conduct air operations in northern Australia, combining efforts to better integrate multilateral defense capabilities and enhance interoperability.

Pitch Black began in 1981 and was initially limited to Australian participation until 1983, when the U.S. became the first international participant. Many participants have joined Pitch Black since then, with the goal of enhancing combat readiness and interoperability between partner nations. This year is the first year the Republic of Korea Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force, and German Air Force fully participated.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Mackenzie Cea, 18th Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment craftsman, has been stationed in Europe, the Republic of Korea and now Japan and was excited to work with all those nations at once.

“Every time I’ve worked with either partner, I’ve found them to be incredibly kind and hospitable,” Cea said. “I can see the excitement on their faces being out here in Australia and conducting missions with us. Seeing how excited our partners are to work with us makes me excited to do what we do.”

The first Pitch Black since the COVID-19 pandemic, PB22 hosted multiple community engagement events to include a flypast at Mindil Beach, an Open Day and local youth program integrations.

Both the flypast and Open Day garnered thousands of attendees to learn more about the multilateral exercise and each nation’s respective Air Forces, and local community youth members had the opportunity to tour the F-15C Eagle with U.S. Airmen.

“Pitch Black 22 has been a phenomenal opportunity to work with a number of partners we don’t normally interact with,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Ross Kohler, 67th Fighter Squadron F-15 Eagle pilot. “Both on the ground and in the air, communication is the key to successfully operating as a joint force. By breaking down barriers to communication in training, we exponentially increase our ability to respond with our partners to any contingency that might arise in the region, and that training is invaluable.“

Pitch Black 22 is a model opportunity for expanding engagements with Allies and partners across the globe and demonstrates our resolve to promote security and stability throughout the Indo-Pacific region.


Like Us
Follow Us



MRF-D Trains in Every Climate and Place
U.S Marines with Marine Rotational Force–Darwin 22 secure a possible amphibious landing site during the Operational Regional War Fighter at Cowley Beach Training Area, Queensland. Operation Regional War Fighter supports the Australian Army’s recent focus on enhancing capabilities in the jungle, which mimics conditions seen in the nearby region.

Courtesy photo by Cpl. Nicole Dorrett, Australian Defence Force
Sept. 12, 2022 - DARWIN, Australia – Marine Rotational Force-Darwin 22 participated in Australian led courses that will enhance their ability to conduct operations in every clime and place.“I believe in my soul that Marines are different. Our...

Gema Bhakti 2022 Kicks-off with Opening Ceremony
Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara, State of Hawaii Adjutant General, provides opening remarks to the members of the U.S Military and the Tentara Nasional Indonesia (TNI, Indonesian Armed Forces) for Gema Bhakti 2022, September 09, 2022, Jakarta Indonesia. Gema Bhakti 22 is a USINDOPACOM Joint Exercise Program event, utilizing US Joint forces partnering with TNI Armed Forces working together to increase interoperability and enhance regional stability and security through bilateral and multilateral partnerships. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Andrew Jackson)
Sept. 9, 2022 - JAKARTA, Indonesia – Members of the U.S Military and the Tentara Nasional Indonesia (TNI, Indonesian Armed Forces) kicked off Joint Staff Exercise Gema Bhakti 22 on September 9, 2022 with an opening ceremony in Jakarta,...

Alaska, Washington National Guard Join Exercise Gobi Wolf
Brig. Gen. Tracy Smith, commander of the Alaska Air National Guard, spoke about the 20 years of the bilateral partnership between the Alaska National Guard and Mongolian government during the opening ceremony for Gobi Wolf 2022 in Bayankhongor, Mongolia, Sept. 5. Gobi Wolf is a disaster response exercise with field training exercises in hazmat response, mass medical care and search and rescue. (Alaska National Guard photo by Victoria Granado)
Sept. 8, 2022 - BAYANKHONGOR, Mongolia – Exercise Gobi Wolf 2022, a multinational civil and military training exercise, commenced with an opening ceremony and expert academic discussion Sept. 5.The six-day exercise is part of the Pacific...

MRF-D 22 Ground Combat Element Integrates Into 1st Brigade To Enhance Combined Littoral Lethality
DARWIN, Australia – U.S. Marines with Marine Rotational Force-Darwin 22 and Australian Army soldiers secure an objective during exercise Predator's Run 22 at Mount Bundey Training Area, NT, Australia, Aug. 27, 2022. Predator's Run 22 is a multinational exercise that simulates littoral combined arms maneuver in a large-scale force-on-force environment.
Sept. 7, 2022 - The Marine Rotational Force-Darwin 22 ground combat element, led by 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, participated in exercise PREDATOR’S RUN, integrating into the Australian Defence Force’s 1st Brigade to enhance combined...

Littoral Combat Ships Conduct Joint Oceania Maritime Support Initiative
PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 18, 2022) – Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Oakland (LCS 24) stations behind a fishing vessel while Tactical Law Enforcement Team Pacific Coast Guardsmen conduct an Oceania Maritime Support Initiative (OMSI) vessel compliance boarding, Aug. 19, 2022. Oakland is deployed in support of the Oceania Maritime Support Initiative, a secretary of defense program leveraging Department of Defense assets transiting the region to increase the Coast Guard’s maritime domain awareness, and law enforcement operations in Oceania. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ian Zagrocki)
Sept. 7, 2022 - PACIFIC OCEAN – Independence-variant littoral combat ships USS Jackson (LCS 6) and USS Oakland (LCS 24) deployed to the Oceania region with embarked U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Team detachments to...