Afghanistan – Partners in Peace Enhance Regional Security

Australia and the other members of the Five Power Defence Arrangement (FPDA) today completed a major military exercise to plan and conduct a joint military operation for the defence of Malaysia and Singapore.

The FPDA countries – Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand and the UK – conducted Exercise Bersama Shield 2011 from 2-13 May. Participants were challenged to jointly plan and execute tactical missions for 46 combat aircraft and nine warships.

Over the past 11 days FPDA warships and a diverse range of combat aircraft have engaged in complex air defence exercises.

The tactical missions involved the integration of different aircraft types, coordinated by 130 FPDA personnel at Butterworth Air Base in Malaysia. The exercise was a useful challenge for Australia’s new F/A-18F Super Hornets, and the RAN guided missile frigates, HMA Ships Ballarat and Parramatta.

The Super Hornets, from 1 Squadron at RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland, trained alongside Malaysian MiG-29 interceptors and Singaporean F-16s. The combined maritime task group conduct highly realistic air defence exercises.

The Commanding Officer of 1 Squadron, Wing Commander Glen Braz, said the Australian Super Hornets practiced air combat tactics that enhanced the Air Force’s experience of air combat with regional defence forces.

“This type of training is especially beneficial for exposing our aircrew to a highly complex and multi-national environment that aids in developing their air combat skills and experience,” he said.

Commander Australian Contingent, Wing Commander Ken Robinson, said the annual exercise enables the ADF to develop relationships with important security partners while reinforcing Australia’s long-term commitment to regional stability.

“The ADF participated in the exercise, which marks its 40th anniversary this year,” he said.

The exercise included a multi-national sports day on Tioman Island, in the South China Sea, where the crews of Parramatta and Ballarat competed in friendly games of sport against their counter-parts from the Royal Navy, the Republic of Singapore Navy, the New Zealand Navy and the Malaysian Navy.

HMAS Ballarat will now look forward to supporting the International Maritime Defence Exhibition (IMDEX) to be held in Singapore, while HMAS Parramatta will be conducting a port visit to Cambodia.

The two ANZAC Class ships will then sail to Thailand to participate in Exercise AUSTHAI 11, a combined biennial exercise between the Royal Thai Navy and the RAN, which aims to improve interoperability and enhance proficiency in maritime war-fighting skills.

Press release
Ministerial Support and Public Affairs,
Department of Defence,
Canberra, Australia

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