Militaries from Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) countries are participating in a two-week exercise, Bersama Gold 2021 (XBG21).

The tri-service exercise, being held in the southern parts of the South China Sea, was previously named ‘Exercise Bersama Lima’. It was renamed this year to mark the FDPA’s 50th anniversary.

The FPDA countries are Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. It was established in 1971.

According to the Singapore Ministry of Defence (MINDEF), the exercise is witnessing the participation of some 2,600 troops.

In addition, the exercise will also see the participation of ten ships, one submarine, six maritime helicopters, three maritime patrol aircraft, and 25 fighter aircraft.

Two support aircraft and one command and control (C2) aircraft will also take part in the contactless exercise.

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XBG21 will include contactless maritime and air components, as well as a virtual land workshop.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, XBG21 is the first FPDA exercise to be conducted physically as a field training exercise.

It started on 4 October and will run until 18 October.

In addition, airforces from the FPDA countries will exercise with each other in air serials such as air defence exercises.

These airforces also support the maritime component in anti-submarine exercises.

Anti-air and anti-submarine exercises, gunnery firings and manoeuvring drills will be conducted in the exercise.

Meanwhile, a land component in the exercise includes a virtual jungle warfare workshop.

XBG 21 deputy ex-director colonel Ng Xun Xi said: “Exercise Bersama Gold will facilitate the sharing of professional knowledge and experiences and enhance mutual understanding and trust between personnel from the FPDA member-nations.

“I’m heartened to see that despite the Covid-19 situation, FPDA member-nations remain very committed to the exercise. Singapore is also glad to play our part by hosting the participating ANZUK assets.”

Exercise Suman Warrior and Exercise Bersama Shield are some of the FPDA exercises that witness regular participation of SAF.