Canberra: As part of growing Indo-French ties, the French Air Force refuelled Sukhoi Su-30 MKI fighter jets of the Indian Air Force (IAF). Notably, the IAF contingent was heading towards the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Darwin base to take part in the military exercise, Pitch Black 2022, when the fighter jets required refuelling during their projection.

The IAF thanked the French Air and Space Force for the mid air refuelling support. It tweeted, "As the #IAF contingent moves into #RAAF Darwin base for #ExPitchBlack22, heartfelt thanks to our friends from the French Air & Space Force for the enroute aerial refuelling support. Merci beaucoup!"

The mid air refuelling to Su-30MKI fighter jets was provided by A330 Phénix deployed at Amberley. It was for the first time that France has refuelled Indian jets in flight during their projection. "A French A330 Phénix deployed at Amberley for #PitchBlack2022, have been refuelling Sukhoi SU-30 from @IAF_MCC before they land on Darwin. It is the first time France 🇫🇷 supports India 🇮🇳 during one of its projection #interoperability," tweeted the French Air Force.

Exercise Pitch Black is a biennial warfare exercise hosted by the RAAF. The 17-nations exercise will commence on August 19 in the northern territory of Australia, mainly at RAAF Darwin and Tidal air bases. The exercise will conclude on September 8. It will be for the first time after COVID-19 pandemic that the military exercise is being held. Last time, the exercise Pitch Black was conducted in 2018.