(AUSTRALIAN DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE RELEASE)
Air Force multi-role F/A-18F Super Hornets, Navy guided-missile frigates and a Collins class submarine will join the armed forces of Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom in a major military exercise designed to enhance regional security.
The exercise called BERSAMA SHIELD 2011 (BS11) will bring together the member countries of the Five Power Defence Arrangement (FPDA) as they exercise in various locations on the Malaysian Peninsula and in the South China Sea between 2 and 13 May.
BS11 will involve a total of nine advanced guided-missile frigates, one submarine and 46 modern combat aircraft, as well as various support elements and aims to enhance the interoperability of the combined air, ground and naval forces of the FPDA countries.
The Australian contribution to the FPDA exercise includes 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.
Chief of Joint Operations Command, Lieutenant General Mark Evans, said the Australian Defence Force (ADF) will participate in the exercise as one of the founding members of the FPDA, which was established as an important regional security initiative exactly 40 years ago in 1971.
“BERSAMA SHIELD provides the ADF with the opportunity to develop relationships with important security partners while reinforcing Australia’s long-term commitment to regional stability,” Lieutenant General Evans said.
Lieutenant General Evans said the FPDA continues to be an integral part of the regional security architecture because of its ability to remain relevant to the needs of its members by adapting to the changing security environment.
“Since the FPDA's formation the scope of its activities has expanded from air defence to the development of joint capabilities, which has helped to develop greater interoperability among the armed forces of member nations,” he said.
The Commander of the Australian Contingent, Wing Commander Kenneth Robinson, said BS11 would continue to develop and validate doctrines and procedures for interoperability among FPDA nations' navies, armies and air forces in a combined, joint scenario.
“BS11 is a fantastic training opportunity for all the ADF assets and personnel involved to enhance key skills in an international environment, while also promoting engagement and regional stability in a region of vital importance to Australia” Wing Commander Robinson said.