Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom have just completed a military exercise in the South China Sea named BERSAMA LIMA 2011.
The Five Power Defence Arrangements Exercise tested a number of processes and a range of hardware in the Malaysian Peninsula and South China Sea including the AUD $3.9 billion Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft, Mig 29N and F/A-18 Hornets. RAF Typhoon jets from the UK flew 11,000 km to take part – stopping in Jordan, Oman and Sri Lanka on their cross-continental flight. BERSAMA LIMA gives UK servicemen and women the opportunity to train in a hot and humid climate as well as catch up on the developments among their counterparts.
Defence ministers also travelled to Malaysia for the event, building political partnerships alongside military ones. UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said of the project:
“The FPDA has an enduring value in ensuring security in the region and it is reassuring to see the same level of commitment from our partners. Singapore and Malaysia have been pivotal members of this pact and I am honoured to be in the region to mark this historic milestone.”
The objective of the operation is to further co-operation in naval and maritime matters between the co-operating nations. The South China Sea has disputed boundaries and has seen recent clashes between China and the Philippines.