NATO members including the UK, US, Germany, France and Canada, will arrive in Australia’s Northern Territory this month to kick off Exercise Pitch Black. The combined forces will take to the skies of Australia in a show of unity as Vladimir Putin continues to wage his illegal war on Ukraine.
The military exercises will include around 100 aircraft and 2,500 military personnel from 17 different nations with the aim of “enhancing interoperability and strengthening relationships”.
NATO members include the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands and NATO Partners New Zealand, Republic of Korea, the United Arab Emirates. Indonesia, India, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand will take part in the exercise.
Group Captain Peter Wood, Pitch Black 2022 Director Engagement, said: “International participation in Exercise Pitch Black, from within the Indo-Pacific region and further abroad, provides all nations’ personnel with experience in working with aircraft, systems and work practices, in northern Australia’s unique environment, that would otherwise be unfamiliar.”
Air forces will also be able to master their flying skills and enhance common tactics, techniques and procedures for when they operate alongside each other in real-world missions.
They will operate out of RAAF Bases Darwin and Tindal, supported by RAAF Base Amberley.
Allied Air Command noted: “Multinational live-fly exercises offer a unique opportunity for Allied and Partner air forces to hone their flying skills and enhance common tactics, techniques and procedures indispensable for operating alongside each other in real-world missions.
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Shoigu then claimed military operations carried out by Ukrainian fighters were being planned by the UK and the US.
He said NATO had increased the number of troops deployed around eastern and central Europe “several times over”.
Putin has also accused Western countries, such as the US and UK, of working to roll out a “NATO-like system” across the Asia-Pacific region.
He added that the US was looking to “drag out” the conflict in Ukraine.
The Kremlin has long sought to stop the nuclear alliance’s influence moving eastward towards its borders.