Exercise Bersama Lima 2016 (BL16) was officially opened today at Changi Naval Base, Singapore.
The combined joint military exercise runs until 21 October 2016 and involves the military forces from Australia, Malaysia, NZ, Singapore and the UK operating together under the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA).
Commander Australian Contingent, Wing Commander Gregory Jervis, said the annual exercise aimed to enhance interoperability between the five armed forces by sharing tactics and operational procedures.
“Bersama Lima incorporates a field training exercise for air, land and maritime forces, as well as live fire serials and staff officer training,” he said.
“It provides an opportunity for the Australian Defence Force to conduct training within a multi-threat operational environment. By planning, coordinating and conducting complex joint procedures, ADF personnel are able to maintain their operational and tactical level capabilities.”
A Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18 Hornet, from No.77 Squadron, takes off at Royal Malaysian Air Force Base Butterworth in the lead up to Exercise Bersama Lima 16. Credit: Defence
Approximately 400 ADF personnel will participate in Exercise Bersama Lima 16, including the HMA Ships Warramunga and Yarra; an Australian Army Infantry Platoon from Rifle Company Butterworth; and Royal Australian Air Force personnel supporting 12 F/A-18A Hornet aircraft, an AP-3C Orion aircraft, an E-7A Wedgetail aircraft and a B350 King Air aircraft.
Chief of Joint Operations, Vice Admiral David Johnston, said it’s important to the ADF to maintain strong defence relationships with the FPDA nations.
“The Five Power Defence Arrangements is the longest standing regional security mechanism for Australia,” VADM Johnston said.
“Bersama Lima is an opportunity to practise cooperation, dialogue and interoperability with the participating nations, as a contribution to the stability of the region.”