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Old 08-07-2004, 04:55   #1 (permalink)
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Pitch Black 2004 - Rumble in the Top End

Some of you may have noticed I haven't been around for a month - most may not! I was away with my Hornets on exercise in Darwin, NT. Roll on the soundtrack from Top Gun...

Pitch Black 2004 was an international defence force exercise, both an air and ground war. I have some photos, I know there are a few people interested in aircraft here so here are some photos you won't see everyday, give some of you a look into what I do, I guess. Some are from air force photographers, some are my own. Sorry for dialup users, I kept all the pictures rather small so it shouldn't be too bad - 3 lots of 5 pics.

Countries that participated were Australia, Thailand, Singapore, France, and the USA.

We (RAAF) operated the F/A-18 Hornet (my jets), BAe Hawk, PC-3 Orion, F-111, H and J model Hercules, Caribou, and Boeing 707. The Aus Army operated the Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters (as well as many ground units), and the Navy operated its Seahawk helicopters.



A French Mirage 2000-5 takes off into the night sky under full afterburner. Easily the longest and loudest afterburner of all the jets there. The French also had a KC-135 inflight refueller and Convair 880 transport.



My 3 SQN Hornets all lined up in the evening, getting ready for the nights flying. 3 SQN markings are the bomb with wings in the spine of the jet, and the Southern Cross on the tail.



The Royal Singapore Air Force E-2 Hawkeye AWACS parked as one of their F-16 Falcons taxis down to the holding point. They also operated two KC-135s and two H model Hercules in the operation as well.



Some Royal Thai Air Force F-16 Falcons on the move. They also operated a 737 transport.



An Australian Hornet taking off behind an F-16 undergoing a pre-flight inspection.
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Old 08-07-2004, 04:56   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Pitch Black 2004 - Rumble in the Top End



I was fortunate enough to be aboard a 707 during in flight refuelling - very entertaining to watch as the pilots attempt to catch this basket that is swaying around behind the 707 wings. Fascinating to watch, especially how close they are to us in the tanker.



One side of Darwin Airport is the defence air force base, the other side is the civilian air terminal, which led to some interesting photo moments as the civvy aircraft often had to taxi past us at times depending on wind and traffic.



My mighty 3 SQN Hornets, the tails all lined up, some of which are ready to scramble.



An F-16 Fighting Falcon making a hell of alot of noise and a light show as it heads off into the night sky.



The French Mirage 2000-5 fighters heading to the holding point.
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Old 08-07-2004, 04:57   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Pitch Black 2004 - Rumble in the Top End



The Hornets resting under the fading sunlight.



The best way to stay out of the midday sun. The weather was fantastic, never failed to produce 30 degree days, great for a tan.



Two F-111 aircraft launching into the fine Darwin blue sky.



One Hornet just powered up and started to roll as the other has just started its gear retraction on its way to the battlefield.



An F-16 under full power from beneath.

It was a great trip, biggest exercise I have gone to so far, and the defence force have been using it as a big PR event also.

Well, that's a snapshot of my workplace, cheers for those who had a look, hope some find it interesting.

Cheers... Tim!
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Old 08-07-2004, 05:02   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Pitch Black 2004 - Rumble in the Top End

Excellent shots Tim. What a sight it must of been seeing that many jets all at once.
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Old 08-07-2004, 05:04   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Pitch Black 2004 - Rumble in the Top End

Geez they look awesome
what do they do down the quater mile?
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Old 08-07-2004, 05:06   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Pitch Black 2004 - Rumble in the Top End

Stunning, just stunning. Great to see the F1-11's going at it still too, love the aardvarks!
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Old 08-07-2004, 05:11   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Pitch Black 2004 - Rumble in the Top End

Wow Tim! Those pics are awesome! Good to see you had a good time!!
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Old 08-07-2004, 05:31   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Pitch Black 2004 - Rumble in the Top End

**** me that looks cool, thanks for those pictures Tim, looks bloody wicked
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Old 08-07-2004, 05:35   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Pitch Black 2004 - Rumble in the Top End

Timmy!!!

Looks like you had an awesome time! Welcome home and look forward to hearing some stories when we cruise next.
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Old 08-07-2004, 05:38   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Pitch Black 2004 - Rumble in the Top End

Certainly a very interesting exercise to be involved with. Great shots. Captured the action well. Also good to hear your side performed exceptionally Tim.
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