The German Air Force, known as the Luftwaffe, will participate in Exercise Pitch Black for the first time. Travelling to Australia as part of the Rapid Pacific deployment, the Luftwaffe will arrive in mid-August with more than 200 personnel, six Eurofighter Typhoon Fighters, three A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transports and an A400M transport aircraft. The German Air Force with its Eurofighters also assumes responsibility in Europe and within NATO for securing the airspace – this includes the quick reaction alert element in Estonia, and working closely with Italian and UK air forces in Romania.
Chief of the German Air Force Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz said,”This is the first time the German and Australian air forces have trained together. The Indo-Pacific is of great importance to Germany. We share the same values with many partners in this region. Defending those values in case of a war emergency and being able to support our partners is something that needs to be practised. The F-35 aircraft will further expand the broad spectrum of our capabilities. Since the Royal Australian Air Force is already flying this combat aircraft, we will be able to learn from them as well”.
The German Eurofighter is a multi-role aircraft employed in air-to-air as well as air-to-ground combat – both at close range and from a long distance. The German government has recently agreed to procure F-35 aircraft to replace the Tornado weapon system, with Pitch Black providing an opportunity to integrate more closely with Australia’s F-35A. Following Exercise Pitch Black, the Luftwaffe will participate in Exercise Kakadu before continuing their Rapid Pacific deployment to Japan and the Republic of Korea. Lieutenant General Gerhartz will fly himself in a Eurofighter during Exercises Pitch Black and Kakadu, through to Japan following the exercises.
The Eurofighter Typhoon is a European multinational twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter. The Typhoon was designed originally as an air superiority fighter and is manufactured by a consortium of Airbus, BAE Systems and Leonardo that conducts the majority of the project through a joint holding company, Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH. The NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency, representing the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain, manages the project and is the prime customer. The Eurofighter Typhoon is a highly agile aircraft, designed to be an effective dogfighter in combat. Later production aircraft have been increasingly better equipped to undertake air-to-surface strike missions and to be compatible with an increasing number of different armaments.