27 July 2012
Personnel from the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s (RNZAF) No. 209 (Expeditionary Support) Squadron depart for Darwin tomorrow to participate in a multi-national air combat exercise, Exercise PITCH BLACK 12.
The Field Training Exercise (FTX) also involves personnel from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Australian Army, and international participants from the United States, Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia.
“Exercise PITCH BLACK 12 will be the largest field training exercise for No. 209 Squadron this year,and will involve a combination of day and night flying from RAAF Bases Darwin and Tindal," says Wing Commander (WGCDR) Darryl Cockroft, 209 Squadron Commanding Officer.
“The exercise provides our people with exposure to the planning and conduct of air operations within a large scale coalition environment. It enables us to practice deployed operations in a medium to high level threat environment, and for ground support personnel to develop and enhance the skills necessary for carrying out operations away from New Zealand.
“It is very much a joint NZ Defence Force contribution to the exercise, with the 209 Squadron detachment including NZ Army Regular and Reserve Force personnel from 2 Combat Services Support Battalion and 3 Auckland North Battalion Group.
“It’s been an exciting and busy period planning and preparing for Exercise PITCH BLACK 12. We are looking forward to the opportunity to exchange information on air and ground training procedures and equipment, working alongside a range of nations, further developing interoperability with them.”
The majority of the detachment will depart RNZAF Base Whenuapai on an RNZAF Boeing 757 on Saturday at 9:00 am, returning to NZ on approximately 18 August 2012.
For more information please contact Squadron Leader Lyn Coromandel, Defence Communications Group on 021 420 899.