Washington and several of its close partners kicked off massive aerial military exercises in Australia. F-35s from the US and Brittan will join advanced warplanes from India, Japan, South Korea, France and several other countries.
A NATO press release on the war games, dubbed Pitch Black 2022, says the drills will involve about 100 aircraft and 2500 military personnel from 17 nations in Australia’s Northern Territory. The exercises last took place in 2018. The Pitch Black 2020 was canceled due to the pandemic.
The war games began last Friday as tensions in the Indo-Pacific continue to soar. The Pitch Black drills will involve all four members of The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or ‘The Quad.’ The Quad is an anti-China cooperation forum for the US, India, Japan and South Korea. America’s NATO partners Germany, France and the UK are taking part. A recent NATO security document said China poses a “systemic challenge to Euro-Atlantic security.
NATO members have increasingly taken a hostile position towards Beijing. Over the past few years, several European counties have joined the US in conducting freedom of navigation operations and Taiwan Strait transits. China views Taiwan and the South China Sea as its territory.
Canada, France, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and the UAE are also participating. Germany, Japan and the Republic of Korea are participating fully for the first time. The war games last until September 18th.
Washington has conducted a series of war games in the Pacific recently. In Hawaii, South Korea and Tokyo joined American forces in missile detection exercises. On Monday, the US started large-scale war games with South Korea.
Still, some in Washington are demanding more military operations in the region. Representative Gregory Meeks called for more war games between the US and Japan. “Greater military-to-military cooperation, including joint exercises, should certainly be part of the equation,” he said, reflecting the view that deepening the US and Japanese ties will act as a deterrent against China.”