In 2017, a team of Australian Defence Force (ADF) medical specialists deployed to Vietnam for the final phase of Exercise PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP 2017 – the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand and the United Kingdom have completed Five Power Defence Arrangements exercise in international waters, off the coast of Malaysia as part of the longest standing multilateral arrangement in South East Asia. Exercise BERSAMA SHIELD was an important opportunity for the Australian Defence Force to strengthen cooperation with other nations.
Major Australian Defence Force assets deployed to the exercise included Royal Australian Navy submarine HMAS Farncomb and Anzac class frigate HMAS Ballarat. A Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft and a KA350 King Air tactical mobility aircraft also took part.
The exercise was conducted over four phases, culminating in a practical regional security exercise and post exercise debrief. The Five Power Defence Arrangments were established in 1971 to contribute to regional security.
Exercise BERSAMA SHIELD is an annual Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) training event. The exercise is being held within the FPDA exercise area in Malaysia and Singapore between 27 April and 9 May 2017.
Exercise BERSAMA SHIELD 17 is a major training exercise, which aims to enhance interoperability and strengthen the professional relationships of FPDA nations through the conduct of combined joint maritime, land and air operations in a multi-threat environment.
The FPDA consists of Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Approximately 300 Australian Defence Force personnel are participating in the exercise.
HMAS Choules offloading troops and equipment. Amphibious ship HMAS Choules has arrived in the vicinity of the Keppel Islands to commence the offload of troops, vehicles and equipment to Yeppoon, Central Queensland. More than 850 tonnes of heavy equipment and disaster relief stores are bound for Rockhampton to assist the Queensland government and local authorities in flood relief operations, if and when requested. HMAS Choules will offload elements of the Australian Army’s 6th Engineer Support Regiment and supporting units including transport, medical and communications via LCM8 Landing craft from 35th Water Transport Squadron.
Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Timothy Barrett AO, CSC, RAN hosted a commemorative ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea (4-8 May 1942) aboard HMAS Choules on the 1st of May in the Coral Sea. The ceremony honoured the sacrifices of all Navy personnel on both sides who lost their lives during the battle. Attendees at the ceremony included the Governor General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK, MC and Lady Lyn Cosgrove, Federal Attorney-General Senator the Hon George Barndis QC, (representing the Prime Minister of Australia), Minister for Defence, Senator The Hon Marise Payne, State Minister for Defence (Japan), Mr Kenji Wakamiya, Ambassador of Japan to Australia His Excellency Sumio Kusaka, US Charge D’Affaires, Mr James Caruso, Chief of Defence Force Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin AC and Commander US Pacific Fleet Admiral Scott Swift. Australia’s joint operations with the US Navy during the Pacific War set the scene for Australia’s consequent enduring alliance with the United States. The Battle of the Coral Sea was the first naval battle in history where the opposing fleets could not see each other, at sea level and yet they inflicted massive damage on each other.
On Wednesday 1 March 2017, three sailors raised the Australian White Ensign (AWE) from the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge to mark the 116th birthday of the senior service and the 50th anniversary of the flag. The AWE was brought into service on 1 March 1967, with the Australian National Line cargo ship Boonaroo, the first to commission under the new flag. Only commissioned Australian warships and establishments are allowed to display the AWE. It may be displayed with specific approval and only in strictly controlled circumstances. The white ensign symbolises loyalty, courage, service and mateship to the men and women who have served and currently serve in the Royal Australian Navy.
Exercise OCEAN EXPLORER 17 (OE17) is a major Fleet training activity led by the Royal Australian Navy, and jointly-enabled by the Royal Australian Air Force and other nations’ forces. The maritime exercise is one of the largest iterations of the exercise held in the West Australian Exercise Area. OE17 was conducted over the period 13 February to 10 March 2017 with the primary aim of conducting high-end war-fighting training.