Exercise Bersama Shield 2016 begins

19 April 2016 (Last Updated April 19th, 2016 18:30)

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has started a multilateral exercise, codenamed Bersama Shield 2016, in the South China Sea.

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has started a multilateral exercise, codenamed Bersama Shield 2016, in the South China Sea.

Exercise Bersama Shield is an annual combined land, air and maritime exercise between Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand and the UK, and is part of the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) exercise established in 1971.

Australian Contingent Wing Commander Paul Webb said: "Exercise Bersama Shield 16 highlights the diversity of defence relationships Australia maintains in the region.

"Our common values, respect and support for each other is very much evident as we plan and act together in response to the exercise scenarios."

"Our common values, respect and support for each other is very much evident as we plan and act together in response to the exercise scenarios.

"The relationships forged at FPDA exercises then become incredibly valuable when we respond together to real-time crisis situations, such as regional disasters."

More than 200 ADF personnel will participate in the exercise. The assets of ADF include HMAS Anzac, the patrol boat HMAS Bathurst, an AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, and a KA350 King Air tactical mobility aircraft.

Scheduled to conclude on 29 April, the exercise will involve maritime, land and air operations being conducted in a multi-threat environment.

It aims to improve interoperability and strengthen professional relationships of FPDA nations and promote security and stability in South East Asia.

Last year, Bersama Shield 15 included six-days of Combat Enhancement and Force Integration Training, including a harbour training period for maritime assets and a flying programme for air assets.

It also included a one-day sports event, a two-day War Exercise (WAREX) phase and a post-exercise debrief.