UK Armed Forces launch major exercise series in Indo-Pacific


The RAF has started a series of exercises which will see British armed forces train with Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and other Indo-Pacific countries, until December.

Four RAF Typhoon fighters and a Voyager air-to-air refueling aircraft took part in Exercise Pitch Black in Darwin, Australia. It was the first time the RAF had taken part in the exercise since the pandemic, with around 100 aircraft and 2,500 personnel from 17 countries taking part in complex large-scale training missions.

RAF Typhoons flew day and night as part of large multinational formations of aircraft over one of the largest air training areas in the world. Pilots operated in both the air-to-air and air-to-ground role, often in the same sorties, as both attacking and defending forces. Each exercise mission was supported by a Voyager air-to-air tanker that provided fuel to jets from a number of participating nations.

The RAF’s contribution to Exercise Pitch Black is a tangible demonstration of British air power and highlights the UK’s ability to deploy quickly over long distances. It also illustrates the UK’s desire to strengthen international military relations for the safe and efficient conduct of air operations with partner nations. As part of this objective, Typhoon fighters returned to the UK via Malaysia and India to conduct further defense engagement activities.

The Royal Navy, meanwhile, is celebrating a year of permanent presence in the Pacific, following the departure of HMS Spey and HMS Tamar from Portsmouth. In the year since their departure, the ships have sailed 40,000 nautical miles each and collectively visited 17 British overseas nations and territories.

The two British warships are deployed in the Indo-Asia-Pacific as part of the UK’s tilt to the region. HMS Spey has just completed participation in the largest military exercise in northern Australia this year, Kakadu 22, while HMS Tamar will host teams from the US Navy and Royal New Zealand Navy for an exercise large-scale mine warfare off the Republic of Korea. These teams will operate Remus autonomous underwater vehicles from the ship.

UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said:

Security and stability throughout the Indo-Pacific remain paramount, and with Pitch Black exercises and the continued presence of the Royal Navy in the Pacific, we are able to demonstrate our commitment and shared responsibility throughout the region and to further strengthen our close ties with our friends. and allies.

The UK government has identified the Indo-Pacific region as critical to the UK economy, its security and its global ambition to support open societies. The RAF’s participation in the exercise deepens engagement in the region in support of shared prosperity and regional stability.

Meanwhile, the deployment of HMS Tamar and HMS Spey saw the Royal Navy enforce a UN embargo against North Korea; delivering aid to Tonga in the aftermath of a tsunami and participating in numerous regional exercises ranging from large-scale military training to the main humanitarian support mission, Pacific Partnership, which ended last month. This saw HMS Tamar involved in community projects in Palau and Commando engineers built a school in the Philippines.

In October, the UK will begin further exercises with Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and other Indo-Asia-Pacific nations. These will include Exercise Vigilant Isles and Exercise Puk Puk, both land-based exercises. Exercise Vigilant Isles will see personnel from 1 Regiment Royal Horse Artillery deploy to Japan to conduct ground surveillance training. Meanwhile, Exercise Puk Puk will allow Britain’s Royal Engineers to hone their tactical skills by supporting Australian Army engineers carrying out construction activities in Papua New Guinea.

Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said:

These exercises demonstrate Australia’s long-standing commitment to deepening cooperation in the region. They reflect the high value we place on regional stability, shared security and fostering closer ties throughout the Indo-Pacific. Australia and the UK share these values ​​and continue to advance their cause.

These exercises follow Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles’ recent visit to Barrow-in-Furness, where he witnessed the commissioning of the fifth of the Royal Navy’s seven new Astute-class submarines, the HMS Anson, as well as other bilateral engagements.


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