An Air Force spokesperson has confirmed that the Air Force will participate in the “Pitch Black 2022” exercise in Australia from September 5 to 23. Plans for this include six Eurofighters, four A400M transport aircraft and three A330 tanker aircraft. The spokesman said that there has been no such involvement of the Air Force in the Indo-Pacific region so far.
With this project, Germany will again show its presence in the Indo-Pacific region in the coming year. The Navy is currently there for the first time in nearly 20 years with a warship, the frigate Bayern. Guidelines for the Indo-Pacific, which the German government published in September 2020, form the basis of this new German commitment to the region.
According to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), the “Pitch Black” exercise, which the Air Force considers a high-quality exercise, is regularly used for training with partners in the region and beyond.
With its involvement in this area, Germany primarily seeks to pursue two goals, as explained by an air force spokesman. First, the legality of international law rules must be outlined. In particular is the right to free navigation, enshrined in both the Convention on the Law of the Sea and customary international law. Second, regional partners have to be supported. In the specific case of the exercise “Pitch Black 2022”, the objective is to improve the skills and increase the interactivity of the participants.
The spokesman said that in addition to participating in the exercise in Australia, further visits of other partners in the region would be completed.
The Indo-Pacific region is of great strategic importance to the federal government, as the bulk of international trade takes place – nine of the ten largest ports in terms of transshipment are here – and the region has great economic growth potential. Furthermore, the federal government clearly sees China’s ever-increasing claim to power as a security risk. The People’s Republic is making controversial claims to assets in the South China Sea and threatening to conquer Taiwan by force.
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