Biennial multinational military exercise Pitch Black, which is conducted primarily in the NT, may not go ahead this year as the coronavirus pandemic continues to grip the globe.
Biennial multinational military exercise Pitch Black, which is conducted primarily in the NT, may not go ahead this year as the coronavirus pandemic continues to grip the globe.

Military exercise Pitch Black in doubt

A BIENNIAL multinational military exercise may not go ahead, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to grip the globe.

Exercise Pitch Black, which is due to take place from July 24 to August 14, is a large force exercise conducted primarily from RAAF Base Darwin and RAAF Base Tindal.

RAAF Base Amberley, in Queensland, was also meant to take part this year.

The military exercise hosts up to 3500 personnel and up to 120 aircraft from around the globe, and brings millions into the Territory's economy.

However, a spokeswoman from the Australian Defence Force said the ADF was reconsidering running the exercise this year.

"In line with the advice of the Chief Medical Officer and Australian Government, Defence is reconsidering the status of its upcoming events, including Exercise Pitch Black, to ensure the safety of personnel involved," the spokeswoman said.

It comes as US Marines have begun to arrive in the NT in small groups.

Eight Marines arrived in Darwin on March 20 and another group arrived on March 14, and have been in quarantine since touching down.

The decision to review the arrival of 2500 marines comes as the Australian and Territory Governments crack down on regulations and travel to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The ADF spokeswoman said the US and Australia were in talks to decide what the next step forward for the Marine Rotational Force Darwin would be.

"Personnel arriving in Australia are subject to the same checks and requirements imposed by the Australian Border Force as all other international arrivals," he said.

"All international arrivals will comply with these requirements, including the requirement to self-isolate in an appropriate location."

It is not clear where the Marines who have already arrived, are spending their quarantine.

The spokeswoman said the Marine Rotational Force-Darwin was of significant importance to Australia's Defence relationship with the US.

The program has run since 2012 and now sees 2500 US defence members work alongside Australian soldiers during the Dry.

Originally published as Territory military exercise Pitch Black in doubt



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