The Indian Air Force is participating in Exercise Pitch Black for the first time.
Ex Pitch Black is a biennial multi-national large force employment warfare exercise hosted by the RAAF, scheduled to begin this week in the Territory. It involves over 100 aircraft from Australia, the US, India, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, the Netherlands, NZ, Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia.
In a statement, the IAF said that the exercise will provide a "unique opportunity for exchange of knowledge and experience with these nations in a dynamic warfare environment."
The Indian Air Force (IAF) contingent consists of 145 personnel, including four Sukhoi Su-30 MKIs, an Ilyushin tanker, a C-130, a C-17, and a number of special forces. The contingent will undertake simulated air combat exercises in a controlled environment.
During the flight from India to Australia, the Sukhoi Su-30 MKIs were refuelled by the IL-78 tanker. On the return journey, however, the Russian-made fighters will be refuelled in-air by a RAAF KC-30A for the first time.
The contingent also engaged with Indonesian and Malaysian Air Forces on the way over.
According to the RAAF, the exercise "features a range of realistic, simulated threats which can be found in a modern battle-space environment and is an opportunity to test and improve our force integration."
India's participation in the Australian exercise follows New Delhi's refusal to allow Australia to take part in June's Malabar naval exercise near Guam. The rejection was thought to be based on concerns that Australian participation would antagonize China.