17 May 2023
Exercise Bersama Shield – an annual military exercise between the five nations in the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) – concluded in Malaysia recently.
About 250 ADF personnel spent two weeks exercising with militaries from Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom.
Taking place from April 27 to May 12, the exercise focused on combined joint operations in a multi-threat environment and included elements of land, sea and air.
Exercise Director Singapore Armed Forces Colonel Lau Mun Leng outlined the joint and combined nature of the exercise to support interoperability and build professional relationships.
“Bersama Shield was a tier one tactical level exercise, with the main effort centred on tactical integration,” Colonel Lau Mun Leng said.
“There were 20 fighter aircraft, seven support aircraft, one helicopter, four ships and 140 augmentees from all five nations.”
Leading Seaman Joseph French, a communications information systems sailor from the Royal Australian Navy, said he enjoyed working with members of the five nations’ forces.
“It has been a good experience to integrate with the other nations, as they undertake a similar communications role managing all signal traffic,” Leading Seaman French said.
“It was a positive exercise. We were able to learn from each other as a result of working in a multinational environment.”
Commander Integrated Area Defence System in Malaysia Air Vice Marshal Geoffrey Harland, of the Royal Australian Air Force, highlighted the importance of both Bersama Shield and the FPDA.
“Bersama Shield gives the FPDA the opportunity to exercise in a joint way, which contributes to regional security,” Air Vice Marshal Harland said.
“The combined exercise has allowed us to improve our integration and joint operations in the region.”
Bersama Shield was the first of two exercises in the series, with Exercise Bersama Lima scheduled for October.