Air Operation Commander Lieutenant General Datuk Seri Abdul Mutalib Ab Wahab said this was Malaysia’s second participation in the exercise since 2008 to undergo training for air combat, the largest exercise in the world. Pix by Ramdzan Masiam

BUTTERWORTH: More than 100 Royal Malaysian Air Force officers and personnel left for Darwin, Australia, today to join the three-week Pitch Black warfare exercise scheduled to begin on Friday.

Air Operation Commander Lieutenant General Datuk Seri Abdul Mutalib Ab Wahab said this was Malaysia’s second participation in the exercise since 2008 to undergo training for air combat, the largest exercise in the world.

The exercise is a combined training with numerous countries, which will be held at Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Darwin and Tindal base​

Among the countries involved in this year’s Pitch Black exercise are Canada, France, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, United States of America, India, Indonesia and Germany.

“The exercise also covers a full training spectrum which showcases numerous realistic and simulated threats which can be found in modern air combat,” he said during the RMAF send off ceremony held at its Butterworth base today.

Abdul Mutalib said there would be over 138 planes from all around the world in the 2018 Pitch Black with RMAF to display five F/A-18D combat aircraft and one A400M plane.

The exercise will be able to test and improve the integration of the air force personnel at the largest air exercise area in the world - Bradshaw Field Training Area and Delamere Air Weapons Range in Australia.

“The involvement of RMAF in this large scale exercise will indirectly help to gain new knowledge in terms of planning and implementation during challenging times,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pitch Black 2018 participant Major Kamal Jusri Kamalruzaman, 34, said that he was proud to be able to represent the country in the international stage.

“In 2008, I joined the Pitch Black exercise as Tanker Crew, but this time, it will be a more meaningful as I will go there as a Fighter Crew who will fly the F/A-18D combat aircraft.

“This will be the most valuable experience in my career after I joined the RMAF 16 years ago,” he said.

The Pitch Black exercise, hosted by RAAF, will assist its air force personnel to practice Offensive Counter Air (OCA) and Defensive Counter Air (DCA) combat in a simulated war environment.​