Australian Air Force multi-role F/A-18F Super Hornets will soar through the sky over Malaysia while Navy guided-missile frigates and a Collins class submarine will patrol the South China Sea in a major military exercise commencing today.
Exercise BERSAMA SHIELD 2011 (BS11) will see six F/A-18 Super Hornets from No. 1 Squadron, the ANZAC class frigates HMA Ships Ballarat and Parramatta, and the Collins class submarine, HMAS Dechaineux, join other warships and combat aircraft from Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
The Commander of the Australian Contingent, Wing Commander Kenneth Robinson, said the exercise will be conducted by member countries of the Five Power Defence Arrangement (FPDA) in various locations on the Malaysian Peninsula and in the South China Sea between 2 and 13 May.
“The exercise aims to enhance the interoperability of the combined air, ground and naval forces of the FPDA countries to enhance regional security, including the defence of Singapore and Malaysia,” Wing Commander Robinson said.
“The FPDA continues to be an integral part of the regional security architecture, which helps develop greater interoperability among the armed forces of member nations.”
The exercise marks a significant milestone for the Air Force’s new F/A-18F Super Hornets, with this their first overseas deployment since arriving in 2010. The Super Hornet permits Australia to maintain a formidable air combat capability during the transition to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter over the next decade.
“BS11 will provide the F/A-18 Super Hornets with the opportunity to train with Royal Malaysian Air Force MiG-29s and Republic of Singapore F-16s,” Wing Commander Robinson said.
“The exercise’s maritime component involving the ANZAC class frigates, HMA Ships Ballarat and Parramatta, and the Collins class submarine, HMAS Dechaineux, will enhance high-end war-fighting skills in a highly complex maritime environment.”
BERSAMA SHIELD, marking its 40th anniversary this year, provides the ADF with the opportunity to develop relationships with important security partners while reinforcing Australia’s long-term commitment to regional stability.
Ministerial Support and Public Affairs,
Department of Defence,
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