Bigger PAF role at int’l AF exercise

Photo courtesy of PAF

September 3, 2022

The Philippine Air Force is expanding its participation in the next iteration of the Australian-led “Pitch Black” multinational air exercise in 2024.

PAF spokesperson Col. Ma. Consuelo Castillo, in a statement, said the Air Force is eyeing a more extensive involvement, with the possible deployment of its Mach 1-capable FA-50PH light jet combat aircraft.

The country ordered 12 units of the South Korean-made FA-50PH jet aircraft from 2015 to 2017. These units are considered the PAF’s premier air combat aircraft.

It is used extensively for air defense, attack, and other support missions.

The Exercise Pitch Black 2022 is a biennial event and is considered the most significant tactical air activity conducted in the region.

It focuses on “Large Force Employment” and covers the complex management of air operations.

Through this exercise, participating air forces aim to enhance their capabilities in Air Campaign Planning and Air Battle Management.

This year’s PBK22, hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force, started on 19 August and will conclude on 8 September in the northern city of Darwin, Australia.

Some 100 fighter and support aircraft are being operated by around 2,500 personnel from 15 countries, including Germany, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, the United States, the host nation Australia, and the Philippines.

The PBK22 is a venue for evaluating international air forces’ planning and execution of Large Force Employment, Offensive Counter Air, and Air Interdiction scenarios in a complex environment.

It also aims to further enhance regional security through multinational interoperability.

For the PBK22, Castillo said the Philippines deployed personnel from the PAF’s 580th Aircraft Control and Warning Wing of the Air Defense Command that have backgrounds in air battle management and planning.

“The Commanding General, PAF, Lt. Gen. Connor Anthony D. Canlas Sr., and the Commander, Air Defense Command, Maj. Gen. Augustine S. Malinit, are expected to take part and observe in the last week of the exercise where PAF air battle managers of the 580th ACWW of the Air Defense Command are taking lead and support roles in the conduct of the exercise scenarios,” Castillo said.

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