Asia Pacific exercise Bersama Shield 2017 begins

Illustration: warships sail in formation during Bersama Shield 2016. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

Members of the Five Power Defence Arrangements started exercise Bersama Shield 2017 on April 27 in Malaysia and Singapore. 

The long-running Bersama exercise series aims to enhance the interoperability between the founding members of the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) – Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom.

Australia’s Acting Chief of Joint Operations, Major General Stuart Smith said working alongside FPDA partners reinforces ties with regional partners in South East Asia and provides an invaluable opportunity for the Australian Defence Force to exercise in the region.

“Exercise Bersama Shield 17 is a visible example of the types of defense relationships Australia maintains throughout the region,” Major General Smith said.

“The addition of a Royal Australian Navy submarine this year demonstrates the value the ADF places on the exercise and will certainly test those maritime and air assets participating,” added Major General Smith.

Approximately 300 Australian Defence Force personnel will participate in the exercise, which is being held in international waters and within the FPDA exercise area in Malaysia and Singapore, between April 27 and May 9 2017.

Australia is sending the Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Ballarat and the Collins-class submarine HMAS Farncomb, while the Royal Australian Air Force has contributed an AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft and a KA350 King Air tactical mobility aircraft.

During Bersama Shield 17 the FPDA will conduct an air/land integration working group to further enhance the interoperability and cooperation of FPDA nations.

Established in 1971, the Five Power Defence Arrangements contributes both to the security of Singapore and Malaysia and to general stability in South East Asia.

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