Malaysia will host armed forces from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom in the annual Bersama Shield 2022 training exercise beginning Saturday and running through April 1, the Malaysian Joint Forces said in a statement.
The exercise, referred to as BS22, is conducted within the framework of the Five Power Defense Arrangements (FPDA) – a series of bilateral and multilateral defense agreements established in 1971. Bersama means together in Malay.
The exercise will involve sea and air drills, mostly in international waters but also in part of Malaysia’s exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea, the statement said without elaborating.
A Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia notice has warned about the closure of Kuala Lumpur and Singapore flight information regions during “periods of intense aerial activity” between March 24 and 31.
The drills have been organized annually since 2004.
Parts of last year’s edition – called Bersama Gold 2021 to mark 50th anniversary of the FPDA – were held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Live action included anti-air and anti-submarine drills, gunnery firings and maneuvering drills. A total of 2,600 personnel, 10 ships, one submarine, six maritime helicopters, three maritime patrol aircraft, 25 fighter aircraft, two support aircraft and one command and control aircraft took part.
The FPDA is the oldest defense arrangement in the region and includes counter-piracy operations as well as disaster relief and humanitarian assistance.