4500 meals and 2.5m litres of fuel keeps jets in the sky at Tindal

BIG MISSION: Wing Commander Andrew Tatnell at Tindal RAAF base during Exercise Pitch Black 2018.
BIG MISSION: Wing Commander Andrew Tatnell at Tindal RAAF base during Exercise Pitch Black 2018.

The deafening roar of low flying F/A-18 Hornets have been filling our night skies during Exercise Pitch Black.

The biennial, three week exercise brings in 16 nations and hundreds of highly trained Defence personnel to one of the largest open air spaces in the world. 

To keep the operation running like clockwork, Wing Commander Andrew Tatnell has been in preparation for weeks. 

“We've got about 800 personnel operating from the airbase at the moment and about 34 aircraft,” he said. 

Only two weeks in and already 2.5 million litres of aviation fuel have been delivered. 

And about 4500 meals have been served up to sustain the men and women involved. 

"It is an exciting time to be working and operating on the air base,” Wing Commander Tatnell said. 

The operation, flying day and night is "running like clockwork". 

"Getting ready for this exercise, we've been going for about six weeks prior to the start, to make sure that we are prepared," he said.  

Pitch Black involves two main exercises: Defensive Counter Air and Offensive Counter Air. 

Featuring a range of realistic, simulated threats which could be found in a modern battle-space environment Pitch Black is an opportunity to test and improve skills. 

TAKE OFF: Hornets take off at Tindal RAAF Base.

TAKE OFF: Hornets take off at Tindal RAAF Base.

"We have an adversary simulated as red air and they will attempt to approach the air base by stealth and in response we have surveillance up in the air to try and detect their entry and launch aircraft to meet and defeat those,” Wing Commander Tatnell said

Daily operations send E-7A Wedgetails, F/A-18's, and a mixture of F16s into the Top End skies.  

In addition American and Canadian refueling Hercules plug into the jets in the sky to lengthen the amount of time the aircraft can stay in the air. 

Tindal is not quite maxed out with the additional personnel on base for Pitch Black, Wing Commander Tatnell said. 

​Pitch Black brings in personnel from right across Australia. 

Exercise Pitch Black 2018 will be held until August 17.

Comments

Discuss "Tindal is all fired up"

Please note: All comments made or shown here are bound by the Online Discussion Terms & Conditions.