Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Malaysian defence exercise concludes

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has wound up its participation in a Malaysia-based exercise alongside the hosts, Singapore, Australia and the United Kingdom.

More than 400 NZDF personnel, including crew from frigate HMNZS Te Mana and maritime sustainment vessel HMNZS Aotearoa, were involved in this year’s Bersama Lima exercise.

Around 2,300 personnel from the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) countries took part.

Over 19 days, Royal New Zealand Navy sailors carried out maritime operations and conducted boarding training and replenishment at sea operations, while New Zealand Army soldiers trained in jungle warfare.

Twenty-eight NZDF staff were based at the headquarters in the Joint Warfighting Centre in Kuantan.

Bersama Lima means “together five” in Malay and the exercise has been running since 1971.

MNZ Ships Aotearoa and Te Mana take part in Exercise Bersama Lima in Malaysian waters.

Its aim is to train the five militaries together in a scenario defending Malaysia and Singapore. Part of this year’s exercise also included planning for a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief scenario for Exercise Bersama Lima 2025.

There was also a desire to develop relationships and camaraderie between participating nations, and sports days were held for both maritime- and land-based forces.

FPDA ships sail in formation as Exercise Bersama Lima 2023 concludes in Malaysia. The larger ship at right is HMNZS Aotearoa. 

Senior National Officer, Wing Commander Mike Cunningham, said New Zealand continued to learn from the Bersama Lima experience, even after more than 50 years of taking part.

“During this year’s exercise we will take away many new friendships amongst the other FPDA nations and we look forward to working with our FPDA partners in the future.”

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