Australia — Exercise Bersama Shield officially kicks off

Exer­cise Bersama Shield offi­cial­ly kicks off with Australia’s Super Hor­nets launch­ing on their first over­seas mis­sion
F/A-18F Super Hor­nets soared through the Malaysian skies today on their first mis­sion dur­ing Exer­cise Bersama Shield 2011.

The Super Hor­nets, also known as Rhi­nos, have com­menced the Force Inte­gra­tion Train­ing phase which sees the air­crew prac­tice basic fight­er manoeu­vres along­side mil­i­tary air­craft from the Malaysian and Sin­ga­pore­an defence forces.

Six of the Rhi­nos from No 1 Squadron touched down at the Roy­al Malaysian Air Force Base in But­ter­worth on Fri­day 29 April to par­tic­i­pate in their first over­seas deploy­ment since deliv­ery of the mul­ti-role fight­er jets in March last year.

Com­mand­ing Offi­cer No 1 Squadron, Wing Com­man­der Glen Braz, said this is a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone for the ADF and more specif­i­cal­ly the Super Hor­net capa­bil­i­ty, espe­cial­ly as we recog­nise 40 years of the Five Pow­er Defence Arrange­ments (FPDA) this year.

“Par­tic­i­pat­ing in Exer­cise Bersama Shield pro­vides our air and ground crews, as well as sup­port staff, the valu­able oppor­tu­ni­ty to train along­side our region­al part­ners.

“This lev­el of train­ing also aims to enhance and fur­ther devel­op air com­bat capa­bil­i­ty and high-end warfight­ing skills in a com­plex mut­li-nation­al envi­ron­ment.”

The Super Hor­nets are now par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Force Inte­gra­tion Train­ing exer­cise phase before launch­ing into the Live Exer­cise phase between 10 – 13 May.

“The inclu­sion of the high­ly capa­ble, mul­ti-role Super Hor­net in Bersama Shield is anoth­er exam­ple of the tech­no­log­i­cal evo­lu­tion and enhanced sup­port Aus­tralia pro­vides to the region,” Wing Com­man­der Braz said.

“This exer­cise also pro­vides the vital oppor­tu­ni­ty to train along­side our region­al part­ners, as well as the plan­ning and exe­cu­tion of new tac­tics and pro­ce­dures for com­bined air oper­a­tions with the FPDA nations.”

The Aus­tralian con­tri­bu­tion for Bersama Shield is spear­head­ed by the Super Hor­nets, along with the Navy’s Collins class sub­ma­rine HMAS Dechaineux and two Anzac class guid­ed mis­sile frigates, HMA Ships Bal­larat and Par­ra­mat­ta.

Com­man­der of the Aus­tralian Con­tin­gent for the exer­cise, Wing Com­man­der Ken Robin­son, said the aim of Bersama Shield is to cul­ti­vate region­al ties and seeks to enhance Australia’s inter­op­er­abil­i­ty with the armed forces of Malaysia, New Zealand, Sin­ga­pore, and the Unit­ed King­dom and strength­en the pro­fes­sion­al rela­tion­ships between those nation’s forces.

“Australia’s mem­ber­ship of FPDA is a strong affir­ma­tion of our com­mit­ment to region­al secu­ri­ty,” he said.

“It pro­vides Aus­tralia with a strate­gi­cal­ly impor­tant pres­ence in South­east Asia, aug­ment­ing our bilat­er­al engage­ment activ­i­ties and help­ing to pro­mote greater lev­els of inter­op­er­abil­i­ty in the region.”

Bersama Shield is an annu­al field train­ing exer­cise host­ed by HQ Inte­grat­ed Area Defence Sys­tem (HQIADS) on the Malaysian penin­su­la and the South Chi­na Sea. It is a tac­ti­cal exer­cise focused on pro­vid­ing qual­i­ty train­ing in inte­grat­ed air defence, air oper­a­tions and mar­itime oper­a­tions.

Oppor­tu­ni­ties for the five nations to work close­ly togeth­er are under­tak­en dur­ing oth­er FPDA activ­i­ties, includ­ing Bersama Lima, Bersama Padu, Suman Pro­tec­tor and Suman War­rior. Train­ing in exer­cis­es such as Bersama Shield 2011 is impor­tant for Air Force per­son­nel to hone key skills, work as a com­bined force and build region­al rela­tion­ships with par­tic­i­pat­ing nations.

Exer­cise Bersama Shield 11 rep­re­sents the first over­seas deploy­ment for the F/A-18F Super Hor­nets and brings the project anoth­er step clos­er to declar­ing Final Oper­a­tional Capa­bil­i­ty antic­i­pat­ed in 2012.

Exer­cise Bersama Shield con­cludes on 13 May 2011.

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

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