Defence chiefs and representatives of the FPDA nations at the official opening of Exercise Bersama Lima 2009. (all photos : Mindef)
Exercise Bersama Lima is a major Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) exercise that focuses on the conduct of joint manoeuvres in a multi-threat environment by armed forces of member nations. The exercise involves air, maritime, and land components at operational and tactical levels. This year's exercise also features an inaugural humanitarian assistance and disaster relief table-top exercise. About 240 personnel, 19 ships, 59 aircraft, one submarine and various support elements are involved in the exercise.
Armed forces of the FPDA nations conducting a maritime interdiction operation in the South China Sea during the annual Exercise Bersama Lima.
Exercise Bersama Lima 2009 will be held in Malaysia and Singapore, as well as in the South China Sea. It will be carried out in the following phases:
a. 5 to 16 Oct 09: Shore Phase - Force Integration Training. Participants are briefed and undergo harbour and systems training. following which, they will conduct joint training and build on the close linkages and coordination among air, maritime and land forces.
b. 17 to 21 Oct 09: Sea Phase. Participants execute planned serials at the South China Sea.
FPDA armed forces working together to contain maritime threats during a simulated maritime interdiction operation at Exercise Bersama Lima 2009.
Since the FPDA's formation in 1971, the scope of its activities has expanded considerably. With the focus shifting from air defence to the development of joint capabilities in the area of conventional exercises, the FPDA has made significant progress in developing greater interoperability among the armed forces of member nations. Over the years, FPDA exercises have become more integrated and complex, with greater integration of air, maritime and land components. In light of the emergence of non-conventional threats in the security environment, the FPDA Defence Ministers agreed in 2004 to broaden the FPDA's scope to include the development of capabilities to address non-conventional threats. Since then, maritime security serials have been successfully integrated into FPDA exercises. The participation of non-military agencies, such as Singapore's Police Coast Guard and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), in FPDA maritime security serials has also increased the training and professional value of these exercises.
3 Squadron during refueling operations. 3 Squadron F/A-18 Hornets being refueled by a Royal Singapore Air Force C-130 Hercules Tanker. (photo : RAAF)
The FPDA's ability to adapt to the changing security environment has enabled it to remain relevant to the needs of its members. Over the past 38 years, the FPDA has become an integral part of the regional security architecture and continues to contribute significantly to regional stability. The FPDA also serves as a useful forum for dialogue and exchange of views among the Defence Ministers and senior defence officials of its member states.