Skip to main content


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, enhances 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 program 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.

Personnel from foreign militaries get together and teach each other skills Our personnel in formation march in full gear in the Malaysian Jungle. A New Zealand Army Reservist wearing camo paint fires a weapon on Bersama Lima.

Exercise Bersama Lima 2019


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. The New Zealand Army deploys a contingent from the three reserve infantry battalions including a Reserve Force Signals detachment from 1 Combat Support Regiment for Exercise Bersama Lima 19.

More than 50 New Zealand Army reservists undergo tactical and survival training at the Royal Malaysian Air Force Base in Kuantan with Royal Marine Commandos before heading into the Malaysian jungle for Exercise Bersama Lima 19. The infantry platoon conducts sea movement exercises on a Singaporean transport ship, platoon level fighting patrols, participates in an infantry company attack, and plans and conducts a non-combatant evacuation task.

Training with soldiers from four other militaries, the Reservist contingent adapts to the challenges of language barriers and the effects of the Malaysian heat whilst learning new warfare skills in a unique training environment.


HMNZS Te Kaha and HMNZS Aotearoa are deployed to attend Exercise Bersama Gold 2021 in October. 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.

New Zealand Army reservists in the thick of the jungle in Malaysia on exercise Bersama Lima.

Considering a career in the Army?

In the Army you'll never rest on past successes. We'll push you to constantly better yourself. But you won't have to do it alone. You'll be part of a tight-knit team – people that you'll come to trust, no matter what. Whatever your role, you'll be given the best possible training, equipment and encouragement. Everything you need, in fact, to create a successful and valued career.

Find out more