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Bersama Shield 2012 to enhance regional security


Crew from No. 2 Squadron disembarks the wedge tail after another sortie during Exercise Bersama Shield 2012. Photo: Australian MoD.

SYDNEY (BNS): Australia and the other members of the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) are conducting joint Exercise Bersama Shield 2012 to enhance regional security.

The exercise is being held from 23 April - 5 May in Malaysia, the South China Sea and Singapore.

The FPDA countries -- Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore and the United Kingdom -- aims to promote a shared understanding of procedures for air and maritime operations, the protection of the marine environment and disaster relief management, through the exercise.

The Australian Defence Force has deployed 12 aircraft including F-18 Hornets and AP-3C Orions for the exercise, and naval vessels HMAS Ballarat and HMAS Collins will also participate, the Australian Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

"This exercise provides the Australian Defence Force with an important opportunity to enhance relationships and interoperability with our security partners and ensure the practices and plans are in place to respond to security and humanitarian missions in our region, should the need arise," Commander Australian Contingent, Wing Commander Louis Nuttycombe was quoted as saying.

Many of the 20 Australian participants will be operating from the command centre at Headquarters - Integrated Area Defence Systems at Royal Malaysia Air Force Base Butterworth.

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