IAF Participation in Ex Pitch Black 2018
The Indian Air Force for the first time is participating with fighter aircraft in Exercise Pitch Black 2018 (PB-18), which is scheduled from 24 Jul 18 to 18 Aug 18 in Australia. Ex Pitch Black is a biennial multi-national large force employment warfare exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
The IAF contingent consists of 145 air-warriors including Garud team, 04 X Su-30 MKI, 01 X C-130 and 01 X C-17. The contingent will assemble at Air Force Station Kalaikunda and depart for the exercise on 19 Jul 18 from India to Australia via Indonesia. The contingent is being led by Group Captain CUV Rao VM and would aim to undertake simulated air combat exercises in a controlled environment and mutual exchange of best practices towards enhancing IAF operational capability. During the flight from India to Australia and back, Su-30 MKI will carry out air to air refueling with IL-78 tankers. After completion of the exercise, on its return leg from Darwin to Subang, Su-30 MKI will be refueled in air for the first time by RAAF KC-30A. In Australia, the IAF will participate in the mega exercise, which will involve over 100 aircraft from around the globe.
The exercise will provide unique opportunity for exchange of knowledge and experience with these nations in a dynamic warfare environment. Participation in multinational air exercise assumes importance in view of the continued engagement of the IAF with friendly foreign countries. Over the last decade, IAF has been actively participating in operational exercises hosted by various countries, wherein collaborative engagements undertaken with the best air forces in the world. During the transit to Australia, IAF contingent will also have constructive engagement with Indonesian and Malaysian Air Forces.
IAF Mountaineering Expedition
IAF Mountaineering Expedition to Mt Kun (7077 m) was launched on 24 Jun 2018. A total of 17 Air-Warriors had participated in this expedition. After the training at high altitude, the expedition was flagged off on 27 Jun 2018 at Pahalgam by Director, Dte of Adventure.
IAF has been at the forefront to promote women Air-Warriors. The team containing four women Air-Warriors out of a total of 17, was successfully led by Squadron Leader Lalita Mishra, who was also a part of IAF 2011 women expedition to Mt Everest. Eight Air-Warriors successfully reached the summit on 15 Jul 18. Among the summiteers are Squadron Leader Atul Shoeran, Flight Lieutenant Ashak, Sergeant Ravinder, Sergeant M Bhist, Sergeant S Jakhar, Corporal RS Chandel, Corporal JA Wani and NC (E) Gulsad Ali.
This is a notable achievement for Directorate at Adventure since mountaineering expedition to Mt Kun had to be called off last year (Aug 2017) due to weather and snow conditions. IAF Air-Warriors lived up to the challenges and shown true grit, team spirit and perseverance to achieve their aim.