Australia Joins Fictitious Security Threat Drills in South China Sea

Australia will join with Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) partners over the next fortnight to defend against a fictitious security threat in and around the South China Sea.

Exercise Bersama Lima 2014

Exercise Bersama Lima 2014 will see Defence Force elements from Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore and the United Kingdom confront a simulated conventional threat on land and at sea from 7 to 22 October.

Australia’s exercise Commander, Group Captain Dennis Tan, said the FPDA remains a key component of Australia’s regional defence strategy.

“This exercise will give the ADF members the opportunity to work together with FPDA member forces to cultivate stronger regional ties,” GPCAPT Tan said.

“Australia and our FPDA partners are committed to maintaining a stable South East Asian region.”

The Royal Australian Navy’s Anzac Class Frigate HMAS Stuart will play a key role in the exercise, with the ship’s embarked S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopter involved in hunting submarines as well as other maritime activities.

ADF members will also be active on land with a Platoon from Rifle Company Butterworth also taking part.

Two Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft and a KA350 King Air light transport aircraft will participate in the exercise from Royal Malaysian Air Force Base Butterworth in Malaysia.

Bersama Lima is one of the most significant exercises within the FPDA series of activities. It has been developed from the lessons learnt during Exercise Bersama Shield held in Malaysia and Singapore earlier this year, and Exercise Suman Warrior held on New Zealand’s North Island last month.

The FPDA is the longest-standing multilateral arrangement in South East Asia and has maintained relevance in the contemporary security environment.

Press Release, October 09, 2014; Image: © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence