Singapore-hosted Bersama Lima 2016 kicks off

Singapore-hosted exercise Bersama Lima 2016 (BL16) was officially opened today at Changi Naval Base, Singapore.

The combined joint military exercise runs until October 21 and involves the military forces from Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom operating together under the Five Power Defence Arrangements.

Commander Australian Contingent, Wing Commander Gregory Jervis, said the annual exercise is 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.”

Approximately 400 Australian Defence Force personnel will participate in Exercise Bersama Lima 16, including the HMA Ships Warramunga and Yarra; an Australian Army infantry platoon; and Royal Australian Air Force personnel supporting F/A-18A Hornets, an AP-3C Orion, an E-7A Wedgetail and a B350 King Air aircraft.

British Royal Air Force (RAF) is joining the exercise with Typhoon aircraft flown by 1(Fighter) Squadron from RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland.

Chief of Joint Operations, Vice Admiral David Johnston, said it’s important to the Australian Defence Force to maintain strong defence relationships with the Five Power Defence Arrangements’ 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.”