Hundreds of fighter jets have been taking over the skies above Darwin, Northern Territory, as part of Exercise Pitch Black.
Members of the media took off over Tindal to see a Royal Australian Air Force KC-30A multi-role tanker on an air-to-air refuelling mission on Thursday.
The tanker is one of seven KC-30A class jets in Australia's air force fleet.
The former Airbus A330 was gutted to add additional plumbing for fuel, before 270 seats were reinstalled to give the RAAF additional transport capacity.
It carries 110 tonnes of fuel to supply to aircraft either via a boom or two pods.
On Wednesday, the KC-30A circled in the wide open Territory air space above the Victoria Daly Region.
It played a key role in refuelling several Typhoons as well as Armée de l'Air (French Air Force) Rafales that have travelled more than 14,000km to Australia.
At a speed of about 275 knots, receiver aircraft lined up alongside the multi-role tanker and plugged into the refuelling pod.
Each received between five and eight tonnes of fuel without having to land.
The tanker is compatible with numerous aircraft, including F/A-18A/B Hornets, F/A-18F Super Hornets, E/A-18G Growlers, E-7A Wedgetails, C-17A Globemaster IIIs, as well as P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft, F-35A Lightning II, and foreign aircraft such as the F-16C Fighting Falcon and B-1B Lancer.
The Tindal-based KC-30A supports this year's Exercise Pitch Black's refuelling missions alongside three KC-30As from Singapore, the UK and a collection of NATO countries, and three multi-role tankers from RAAF Amberley, Brisbane.
Having previously been deployed to the Middle East, the KC-30A conducted air-to-air refuelling flight testing with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force for the first time in the history of the RAAF earlier this year.
At the time Air Commander Australia, Air Vice-Marshal Darren Goldie, said the successful flight test program would facilitate the ongoing military relationship.
"Our ability to work seamlessly together will ensure we can continue to uphold and reinforce a secure, inclusive, and resilient Indo-Pacific region," Air Vice-Marshal Goldie said.
The RAAF operates a fleet of seven KC-30As from RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland.
Earthworks are currently underway at RAAF Base Tindal to build a new 52,000 square metre parking bay which will enable the RAAF to park four KC-30A at Tindal.
As part of the United States Force Posture Initiative Airfield Works RAAF, Tindal upgrades will also involve extending the runway 11,000 feet and widening its shoulders from three metres to 10.5 metres.
Two new operational readiness platforms at each end of the runway will also be constructed, and an existing secondary taxiway will receive upgrades to accommodate larger aircraft.
A new air movements terminal and aviation fuel farm with a fuel storage capacity of six mega litres, are also among upgrade plans for Tindal.
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Squadron Leader Public Affairs No. 464 Squadron, Eamon Hamilton, said Tindal had traditionally played a big role in Pitch Black.
"Pitch Black started in 1981 and moved to Darwin in 1983 - that's when Tindal was first used," he said.
"The new upgrades will make a significant difference to the strategic importance of RAAF Base Tindal into the future."
As part of this year's Exercise Pitch Black an additional 570 personnel from the RAAF's 2 and 33 Squadrons, the French Air Force, New Zealand and the US Marine Corp are stationed at Tindal.
Pitch Black is the RAAF's most significant international engagement activity, with forces participating from a wide range of partner and allied nations.
"Exercises such as this are pivotal to ensuring the Air Force remains ready to respond whenever the Australian Government requires," a RAAF spokesman said.
"The training and integration of forces that occurs during this exercise directly supports the Air Force's ability to conduct operations.
"Activities such as Exercise Pitch Black recognise Australia's strong relationships and the high value we place on regional security and fostering closer ties throughout the Indo-Pacific region."
The program has taken a four-year hiatus, but returned this week.
Bradshaw Field Training Area and Delamere Air Weapons Range sit about 175km from Katherine in the Northern Territory. The site represents one of the largest training airspace areas in the world.
Every two years, Exercise Pitch Black features a range of simulated threats to test and improve military preparedness.
This year, the exercise hosted almost 2500 personnel and 100 aircraft from around the globe including France, Indonesia, India, Singapore, UK, the Philippines, Thailand, UAE, Canada, Netherlands, Malaysia, New Zealand and the US.
For the first time, Germany, Japan and the Republic of Korea are also participating in the exercise, with Germany bringing a special-livery Eurofighter to Darwin for the occasion.