31 October 2011
War games in the South China Sea involving around 170 officers and crew of HMNZS TE KAHA are increasing in tempo by the day.
“We started with basic anti-submarine, anti-surface and anti-air warfare exercises but are now building up into a mixed threat environment,” says Lt Ed Fulker, a Watchkeeping Officer on board HMNZS TE KAHA.
“Our Seasprite has been used in a variety of missions, from monitoring the waterways to mock attacks on the enemy using her Maverick missiles.”
Lt Fulker said he looks forward to a brief respite this weekend when TE KAHA anchors off Malaysia’s east coast for a break before heading off to a round of live exercises, where the forces split into two and try to outwit and outrun an imaginary enemy.
The annual Bersama Lima exercise, which is being held in Singapore and Malaysia from 18 October to 4 November, involves military personnel from Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Australia and the United Kingdom. Participants are tested on the operational and tactical levels of warfare as they take part in training exercises in the South China Sea and in command post exercises.
Apart from TE KAHA, the NZDF has deployed an RNZAF Orion, the Navy’s Operational Diving Team and personnel from the NZ Army and the NZ Air Force.
The exercise aims to enhance regional security by improving the interoperability of the air, ground and naval forces of the five countries.
Bersama Lima forms part of the Five Power Defence Arrangements forged amongst the five countries in November 1971. Defence Minister Dr Wayne Mapp, Chief of Defence Force Lt Gen Rhys Jones and Secretary of Defence John McKinnon will be joining their counterparts from the four other countries at a ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of those arrangements in early November.