Home' Air Force News : August 19th 2010 Contents RCE
August 19, 2010
10 Pitch Black
FLTLT Skye Smith
FLAWLESS fuel delivery provid-
ed by the No. 13 (City of Darwin)
Squadron fuel farm ensured every
blue force aircraft was online and
ready to fight during Exercise Pitch
Twelve RAAF refuellers joined
together with 14 of their New
Zealand colleagues to refuel every
aircraft participating in the exercise
13SQN's SNCO Refuelling SGT
Mark Devers said the RAAF Darwin
fuel farm pumped about 4.5 million
litres over the entire exercise to sup-
port up to 60 aircraft refuels per day.
Meanwhile, at RAAF Base Tindal,
1.9 million litres of fuel was pumped
over the three weeks of Pitch Black
to support 14 aircraft per day.
"The fuel farm was augmented
with an additional two tankers from
RAAF Base Amberley and two
from RAAF Base Williamtown to
keep up with the demand generated
from refuelling an average of 60 air-
craft each day," SGT Devers said.
"The refuelling team worked
long shifts around-the-clock to
ensure fuel was delivered and air-
craft refuelled on time, every time."
Director Exercise Control
GPCAPT Michael Smith acknowl-
edged the vital capability provided by
the fuel farm in achieving successful
missions during the exercise.
"The refuel team has worked
tirelessly throughout the exercise
and have contributed to ensuring 100
per cent fuel delivery during the Air
Force's largest air combat exercise,"
GPCAPT Smith said.
"The tankers have a very impor-
LT Aaron Oldaker
ESSENTIAL maintenance on
Darwin International Airport's
radar system is now going
ahead thanks to Exercise Pitch
At the end of the exercise
on August 6, Darwin Airport's
radar system was switched off
in order to undertake essential
maintenance for a few weeks
and was temporarily replaced
by a portable Air Force radar.
The Tactical Airfield
Surveillance Radar (TASR), a
portable radar system designed
remote or improvised airstrips,
but with a similar capability to
permanently installed radars,
was transported by road from
RAAF Base Richmond for the
According to FLGOFF
James Pak, the electron-
ics engineer from 1 Combat
responsible for the TASR, the
radar is an important capabil-
ity for the ADF, and he was
pleased to put it to use for the
benefit of passengers flying in
and out of Darwin Airport.
"Having radar capability is
essential for a modern interna-
tional airport. It's very satisfy-
ing to know that our work here
will have a tangible benefit to
the community after the exer-
cise is over," he said.
"It's a flexible and deploy-
able capability. The idea is that
provide air traffic control."
The TASR was fully opera-
tional during Pitch Black, and
provided a redundancy capabil-
ity for the airport until the main
radar was switched off.
FLTLT Skye Smith
UP TO 50 aircraft moves an hour kept
44WG Detachment Darwin on high alert
during Exercise Pitch Black 2010.
The detachment manages all military
and civilian air traffic that comes in
and out of RAAF Base Darwin and the
Darwin International airport.
Detachment Commander WGCDR
Robert Graham said Darwin was aug-
mented by additional joint battle airfield
controllers (JBACs) from the southern
bases to help manage the increase in
military and night flying during the
"We control about 330 moves a day
during the dry season, but then we had
to add the extra movements from Pitch
Black on top of that," WGCDR Graham
said.The Darwin detachment provides air-
base air traffic services, which is a single
component of the JBAC continuum.
"JBACs offer more skill sets than
simply air traffic control," WGCDR
Graham said. "We provide air traf-
fic services plus much more, which is
recognised by the new title of JBAC.
We also routinely deploy personnel in
support of ADF operations, such as the
FLGOFF Chantelle McCann, a JBAC
moves into place
ESSENTIAL: FLGOFF James Pak in front of a Tactical Airfield Surveilance Radar during Exercise Pitch Black 2010.
Photo: CPL Hamish Paterson
tant role to play in successful aircraft
missions. Without a constant supply
of fuel, we cannot sustain air combat
power and the ADF's war fighting
capability will be diminished."
Pitch Black was the first time the
Darwin fuel farm had worked along-
side New Zealand refuellers during a
"Exercising with the New
Zealand refuellers has provided us
with some great training benefits,"
SGT Devers said.
"We have similar training stand-
ards, so the Kiwis fit into the team
easily with only a familiarisation on
our trucks and fuel farms required
for them to operate during Pitch
Black. The New Zealand drivers actu-
ally service their own vehicles too,
while we use the Fuel Equipment
Although the New Zealand refuel-
lers were all based out of Darwin for
the exercise, the Tindal team helped
train the Kiwis to operate the RAAF
equipment prior to the start of Pitch
Both Darwin's and Tindal's fuel
farm maintained 24-hour operations
while maintaining normal operations
for transiting aircraft during the exer-
FLOWING FREE: An Air Force refuelling
truck stands by, while left, a Hornet is
Photos: CPL Hamish Paterson
Controllers kept busy
at the Darwin tower, enjoyed her first
"I loved the exercise," she said.
"I am relatively new to the JBAC
role, but I am thoroughly enjoying con-
trolling military and civilian aircraft in
the same airspace for the first time."
She said aircraft movements signifi-
cantly increased during the exercise.
"Normally we control around 20 air-
craft moves an hour, but this increased to
around 50 per hour during Pitch Black,"
FLGOFF McCann said.
"It can get very busy in the tower.
But at the same time I get to witness
some cool things I wouldn't see at other
towers in Australia, such as a Qantas
passenger jet holding while a formation
of four Hornets performs final approach
on duty at
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