The Royal Air Force has taken part in the first Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) exercise since 2019 and the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
The FPDA is a set of defensive arrangements where Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the UK work together to enhance the defence of Malaysia and Singapore.
Exercise Bersama Shield 2021, known as a Command Post exercise, was held in Malaysia and online for the first time, with personnel taking part from their respective home nations.
The exercise was designed to show the organisational structure of both the Combined Joint Task Force Headquarters and the ability of the associated communications infrastructure, the RAF said.
Exercise Director Colonel Lau Mun Leng, from the Singapore Air Force, said: "This exercise has demonstrated in difficult times the adaptability of our member nations to use alternative platforms, and their steadfast commitment to the FPDA."
A key component of the exercise was the use of the new Joint Warfare Centre at the Joint Force Headquarters in Kuantan, allowing the new facilities to be tested and for any potential issues to be addressed.
This exercise comes before Exercise Bersama Lima 2021, the major FPDA exercise scheduled for October in Malaysia, in which the RAF is planning to deploy both Typhoon and Voyager aircraft.
Exercise Bersama Shield 2021 was the first key event of the 50th anniversary of the FPDA.
It will be followed by Exercise Suman Warrior 2021, hosted by Singapore, in July.
Alongside the year's exercises, the FPDA Defence Chiefs Conference will be held in June, followed by the FPDA Defence Ministers Meeting in October – both in Malaysia.
Cover image: Personnel taking part in Exercise Bersama Shield, the first FPDA exercise of 2021 (Picture: RAF).