(Screengrab from Royal Australian Air Force video)

MANILA – A total of 21 Philippine Air Force (PAF) officers with backgrounds in air battle management and planning will participate in the premier Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) "Exercise Pitch Black" in the city of Darwin from August 19 to September 8.

"The PAF participants will be (embedded) with the players and they will serve as active observers. There will be a total of 21 PAF officers who will be part of this year's 'Pitch Black'," Air Force spokesperson Col. Maynard Mariano said in a message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) Friday.

However, no PAF aircraft will take part in the exercise, Mariano said.

"Active participation will be coming from the air battle managers of the PAF, as they will observe and participate in air campaign planning and air space and air battle management," he said.

He added that PAF senior planners would observe the exercise to gain "knowledge on how to plan and stage a large force engagement in exercise scenarios and real-world operations."

Mariano said PAF commander Lt. Gen. Connor Anthony D. Canlas Sr. and Air Defense Command chief Maj. Gen. Augustine Malinit would join the air chiefs of participating countries "as distinguished visitors and will actively participate as executive observers."

"Exercise Pitch Black" is a biennial three-week exercise on multi-national large force deployment conducted by the RAAF.

It is the RAAF's most significant international engagement activity and consists of realistic, simulated threats in a modern battle-space environment.

About 2,500 personnel and 100 aircraft from Australia, France, Germany, Indonesia, India, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom, Philippines, Thailand, UAE, Canada, the Netherlands, Malaysia, New Zealand, and the United States will join the exercise. (PNA)