Exercise Bersama Shield – a bi-annual military exercise between the five nations in the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) – concluded in Malaysia on Friday. Approximately 250 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel spent two weeks exercising with militaries from Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom. Taking place from 27 April to 12 May, the exercise focused on combined joint operations in a multi-threat environment, with training designed to enhance interoperability and strengthen professional relationships.
Chief of Joint Operations, Lieutenant General Greg Bilton AO, CSC, said “Exercise Bersama Shield was an important opportunity to exercise with FPDA partners. For more than 50 years, Australia has exercised with our FPDA partners to support regional security and develop our professional mastery together. Exercises such as Bersama Shield continue to develop and provide the ADF and FPDA partners the opportunity to exercise together in a contemporary and complex environment.”
Royal Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidon and KA350 King Air tactical mobility aircraft, and the Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Anzac, were also deployed to the exercise. The Five Power Defence Arrangements were established in 1971 as a security arrangement between Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Malaysia and Singapore. The Bersama series of exercises underlines Australia’s steadfast commitment to investing in regional partnerships. Exercises such as these promote an open, inclusive, and resilient Indo-Pacific region and make a meaningful contribution to collective security.
The next exercise for the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) nations is Exercise Bersama Lima, scheduled for October in Malaysia. The FPDA are a series of bilateral defence relationships established by a series of multi-lateral agreements between Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the United Kingdom, all of which are Commonwealth members that once belonged to the British Empire. There is no specific commitment to intervene militarily, and the agreement is merely consultative.