As the 31st edition of Exercise Safkar Indopura 2019 (XSI 19) concluded, the bilateral exercise between the Singapore Army and the Indonesian Army (TNI-AD) stands as a testament to the strong relations between the two nations.
Soldiers from Headquarters 3rd Singapore Infantry Brigade and 5th Battalion, Singapore Infantry Regiment (5 SIR) of the Singapore Army, along with troops from the 16th Mechanised Infantry Brigade and the 512th, 516th and 521st Mechanised Infantry Battalions of the TNI-AD made up the over 470-strong military personnel involved in the exercise.
On the morning of 18 September under grey-cast skies of Kranji Camp III, the exercise formally commenced, with the Deputy Chief of Staff of Indonesian Army, Lieutenant General Tatang Sulaiman, handing over the XSI torch to our Chief of Staff-General Staff, Brigadier-General (BG) Kenneth Liow, signifying the start of XSI 19.
Lieutenant General Tatang Sulaiman handing over the XSI torch to Brigadier-General (BG) Kenneth Liow.
A static display of the armaments used by Our Singapore Army was then showcased, featuring our Singapore Assault Rifle - 21st Century (SAR-21), as well as other prominent rifles like the Section Automatic Weapon (SAW) and the M203 Grenade Launcher. The Indonesian Army too, displayed their arsenal of weapons, such as the Indonesian-made SS2 V2 assault rifle and the SM2-V1 machine gun.
One of our soldiers showcasing the M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper Rifle to an Indonesian soldier.
The troops of the TNI-AD had a chance to try out the SAR-21 the following day, as they headed down to the Multi-Mission Range Complex (MMRC) to complete a night and day shoot, which further enhanced their experience with our weapon. Throughout the shoot, our soldiers provided helpful tips on weapon handling to the Indonesian soldiers as they got to hands-on firing our weapon.
During the live firing, our soldiers guided the Indonesian troops and gave them tips to improve their accuracy.
Having interacted and worked together for the past couple of days - the final exercise at Murai Urban Training Facility (MUTF) would be the culmination of all the interaction and training done by our soldiers and the TNI-AD soldiers. The commanders from both Our Singapore Army and the TNI-AD planned the mission and route, as well as any additional considerations that would be essential in planning a battalion-level urban operation. Together, both armies worked together professionally and seamlessly.
Mission planning conducted by commanders of the SAF, as well as commanders of the TNI-AD.
As mission day arrived, our soldiers and the TNI-AD soldiers emerged from the vegetation as they crept expertly into the grounds of MUTF. Within seconds, the soundscape and landscape of the compound transformed from empty gravel roads and seemingly empty buildings to being filled with the sounds of troops' storming and blank rifle rounds. Soldiers from both armies combined flawlessly, clearing buildings and moving efficiently across the facility. Due to the speedy and dynamic conduct of the soldiers, mission success was achieved within a short time.
Our troops running under the cover of tactical smoke during the final exercise.
Tired smiles and pats on the back followed the completion of the exercise, and after a brief resting time, the soldiers lined up again for the official closing ceremony of XSI 19. Our Chief of Army, Major-General (MG) Goh Si Hou and Chief of Staff of the Indonesian Army, General Andika Perkasa co-officiated the closing ceremony, with MG Goh Si Hou handing over the XSI torch to General Andika Perkasa, representing the end of XSI 19.
Our Chief of Army, Major-General (MG) Goh Si Hou presenting Chief of Staff of the Indonesian Army, General Andika Perkasa, the XSI torch.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, MG Goh spoke about the importance of having exercises like XSI to strengthen and maintain defence-relations and friendships between Singapore and Indonesia. "Through these exchanges, our armies have benefited from mutual learning, and enhanced our professionalism and interoperability. More importantly, they have allowed us to develop shared memories and a special friendship, based on understanding and trust. May this relationship continue to grow from strength to strength."
During his speech, MG Goh Si Hou emphasised on the significance and meaning of bilateral exercises such as XSI.
Hear from The Soldiers!
Reflecting on the exercise, CPL Maximilian Raudaschl, Man Portable Anti-Tank 2IC, was grateful to be able to participate and observe how foreign militaries operate. "I was grateful for the chance to be involved in this exercise as I was able to see how a foreign military operates, and I was able to compare how our Army and theirs operates." Furthermore, as an individual, CPL Maximilian was thankful to be able to meet new people from another country, and to gain a better understanding of another culture. "This benefited me by allowing me to see and experience what the Indonesian soldiers go through, as well as learning about another culture and their people."
Insight into a foreign culture was one of the key points CPL Maximillian Raudaschl gained during the exercise.
In camp, 1SG Au Yong Kah Kiat Sean, Platoon Sergeant, made sure that all of the soldiers in his platoon had their drills up to standard, whilst during the exercise, he was in-charge of pushing his men forward and if need be, lead the fight. Speaking about his experience gained through the exercise, 1SG Sean was impressed by the enthusiasm of the Indonesian soldiers. "Whenever I'm with the TNI-AD soldiers, I never feel down. They're constantly bubbly and energetic, and as someone who enjoys energy, I was really impressed and encouraged by this." Speaking about the teamwork between our Army and the TNI-AD, 1SG Sean was pleased by the capability of working together. "We both have two different ways of operating, but after XSI, I am confident that our armies will be able to operate together to achieve mission success."
1SG Au Yong Kah Kiat Sean, enjoyed the energy and enthusiasm displayed the Indonesian troops.
Written by: REC Douglas Toh
Photography by: CPL Teo Hao Yu and PTE Nicolas Chow
This exercise reiterated the importance of FPDA, the collective defence agreement established in 1971, following Britain's withdrawal of its military forces "East of Suez". It has provided avenues for the five nations to collectively discuss possible courses of action in the event of external threats or armed attacks encountered by any of the five nations.
XSW 19 kicked off with a country and cultural brief by the participants from the member-nations, as well as a sports day, which provided a platform to build friendships and rapport. Our Singapore team paid tribute to our National Service by ending it with a performance of "Training to be Soldiers". 3WO Muhammad Ashik, Delegation Sergeant Major for the SAF contingent, shared that "the response from the other countries gave all of us renewed pride and patriotism and it is a feeling I will never forget."
The country and cultural brief by the respective nations allowed the participants to better understand each other’s countries and traditions. Pictured is CPT Daniel Koh providing a country brief on Singapore at the session.
Participants playing a friendly game of soccer during the Sports Day.
3WO Muhammad Ashik, Delegation Sergeant Major for the SAF contingent.
The first week ended with a deliberate Battle Procedure (BP) exercise before it culminated in a back-brief to the FPDA Commander by the respective COs. Participating in an FPDA exercise for the first time, it was an eye opening experience for 3WO Ashik to witness the Battalion Headquarters (Bn HQ) plan in the context of Brigade Command Post Exercise (CPX). He said "Our BP was structured and deliberate. The amount of details that the team looked into in order to derive a robust plan was a reflection of the success of our Army's training system. I am heartened that the team, across all ranks and levels, clearly demonstrated commitment and dedication. I am also confident and proud of our unit's operational readiness, but more importantly, I feel that the exercise has allowed each individual to grow in confidence."
Back brief by MAJ Michael Enriquez (centre) to FPDA Comd, BRIG David Thomas on his Ops Plan.
The approved plan was subsequently executed in the Joint Combined Application Training System (JCATS), a war-gaming simulation system, in the context of a Brigade CPX. The participants monitored the progress of the battle closely and ensured coordination between the manoeuvre forces so as to achieve the desired mission outcome.
ME1 Azmi working closely with the FPDA nations to coordinate manoeuvres and resupplies.
LTA Bryan Ee, Deputy Intelligence Officer, engaging in discussion with another FPDA soldier during the exercise.
CPT Daryl Koh, Logistics Officer (front, left) working with his team to develop their support plans.
CPT Daryl Koh, Logistics Officer from 2 SIR, who had the privilege to work closely with fellow Logisticians from the FPDA member-nations, shared his experiences. "Working in a coalition setting was always difficult especially when there were differences in our standard operating procedures (SOP). However, this also provided the opportunity for further interaction and clarification which in turn led to insightful cross-sharing of knowledge and experiences between the member-nations. Overall, the whole intent of interoperability was achieved through teamwork and dedication of our team with the rest of the nations."
MAJ Michael Enriquez shared that "XSW provides an invaluable platform for professional interaction and knowledge exchange amongst the FPDA member-nations. Through the exercise, we are able to enhance interoperability between the FPDA member-nations armies". The next edition of XSW will be held in New Zealand and Our Singapore Army is already looking forward to training with our counterparts from the FPDA member-nations next year!
Contributed by: 2nd Battalion, Singapore Infantry Regiment
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