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Five Power Defence Arrangements

Security in our region

The Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) between the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Singapore are one of the longest-running defence arrangements in the world. Conducting regular military exercises between the military forces of the five countries since 1981, the FPDA enhance interoperability and promotes stability and security in the Southeast Asian region.


Five nations commit to defend and protect the newly formed states of Singapore and Malaysia whilst they build their defence capability. Following the reduction of forces in Southeast Asia from the United Kingdom, the FPDA are established and agree that in the event of any form of threat of armed attack the member countries will “immediately consult together for the purpose of deciding what measures should be taken jointly or separately.”


Although not a formal alliance the FPDA evolve to include a multilateral training exercise programme with all five countries regularly coming together to conduct complex exercises involving air, maritime and land forces. These tactical and operational training activities enhance military interoperability between the five nations becoming the only defence arrangements of their kind in Southeast Asia.


Responding to changing global threats, the first FPDA Exercise Bersama Lima (translates to "Together Five" in Malay) commences. This is a new large-scale military training exercise executing multi-threat scenarios from counter-terrorism and maritime security to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief tasks around the region. The combined joint exercise involves 3,500 military personnel, 31 ships, 60 aircraft, and two submarines operating from the Command-and-Control facility at Paya Lebar Air Base in Singapore.


Almost every year the NZDF deploy a contingent to Exercise Bersama Lima, participating in tactical training scenarios alongside other FPDA nations using air, land, and maritime assets. In the air, the Royal New Zealand Air Force No. 5 Squadron deploy a P-3K2 to RMAF Base Butterworth, at Penang in Malaysia, for Exercise Bersama Lima 13.

The squadron participates in a warfare scenario involving two phases, Force Integration Training (FIT phase) and the War Exercise (WAREX). Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) is carried out—working first in support of friendly naval forces, then switching sides to work for the opposing forces (OPFOR). They conduct Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) exercises using an Expendable Mobile Acoustic Training Target (EMATT). The P-3K2 conducts surveillance, as a maritime patrol aircraft, providing surface pictures of enemy forces to friendly ships, and in the ASW role, to find the submarine that is in the area.

During the WAREX the role of the P-3K2 changes as tensions escalate. As a surveillance platform they guide fighter aircraft to the enemy vessels, or seek to detect, deter or destroy the ‘enemy’ submarine. No.5 Squadron develop and hone their procedures for the P-3K2 as well as connecting with military friends in Southeast Asia.


Aircrew on a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion will join the Royal New Zealand Navy Task Group for Exercise Bersama Gold 21 in October. Approximately 270 Navy and Air Force personnel are deploying on the ships HMNZS Te Kaha and replenishment tanker HMNZS Aotearoa. These exercises build friendships, share cultures, enhance interoperability, and continue to hone our warfare techniques. 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the FPDA - a unique and enduring multinational defence engagement maintaining peace and security in the Southeast Asia region.