Australian warships, combat aircraft and soldiers were off on Monday to participate in a major regional defense exercise to be held in Malaysia with the armed forces of Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom.
The exercise, called Bersama Shield 2010, will be conducted through the Five Power Defense Arrangement (FPDA) security agreement in various locations on the Malaysian Peninsula and in the South China Sea between April 26 and May 7.
Chief of joint operations command Lieutenant General Mark Evans said the Australian Defense Force would participate as one of the founding members of the FPDA, which has been established almost 40 years ago as a regional security initiative.
"Since the FPDA's formation, the scope of its activities has expanded from air defense to the development of joint capabilities, which has helped to develop greater interoperability among the armed forces of member nations," Evans said in a statement.
Bersama Shield has also provided the ADF with the opportunity to develop relationships with important security partners, while reinforcing Australia's long-term commitment to regional stability.
Australian elements have involved in the exercise include ships HMAS Anzac and HMAS Success, eight F/A-18 Hornet combat aircraft from 75 Squadron, and an AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft from 92 Squadron.