S'pore, Australia strengthen defence ties at Exercise Trident: SMS Heng

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10nov18_news
10 Nov 2018 | OPS & TRAINING

S'pore, Australia strengthen defence ties at Exercise Trident: SMS Heng

// Report by Thrina Tham

// Photos by Chai Sian Liang

From Shoalwater Bay, Queensland, Australia

English Melayu

Singapore and Australia share an "all-weather partnership that has gone on for years", said Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How. "We've been at Shoalwater Bay for 28 years and we will continue to be here to expand our collaboration."
 
He said this during his visit to Exercise Trident on 10 Nov, amid challenging sea state conditions that put a hold on the launch of fast craft for the finale ship-to-shore mission.
 
Exercise Trident, which takes place from 31 Oct to 14 Nov, is a signature bilateral exercise between the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and the Australian Defence Force (ADF) in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area in Queensland, Australia.
 
In a joint interview with Australia Assistant Minister for Defence David Fawcett while visiting the troops on board landing ship tank RSS Resolution, Mr Heng said: "The fact that we are not able to do this particular tactical manoeuvre today is not a show-stopper.
 
"We will make adjustments: instead of going in by ship or craft, we'll go in by helicopter and the exercise will go on. So it really gives us the confidence that our troops are able to operate together."
 
As part of their visit, Mr Heng and Mr Fawcett witnessed an advance party of SAF and ADF troops embarking the CH-47 Chinook helicopter on the ship's flight deck.
 
The Chinook will transport the advance party to an in-land landing site where they will facilitate the arrival of the main troops.
 
More than 1,300 personnel from both armed forces took part in the battalion-level amphibious operation. 

This year's Exercise Trident also featured the largest participation from the ADF, with over 100 Australian troops involved.
 
In his interview, Mr Heng thanked the Australian Government for their support of the SAF's training in Australia, which helps "to overcome the physical constraints that we face in order for our armed forces to be able to fight in a very integrated way".
 
"We also saw and will see the interoperability between the SAF and the ADF. This way of operating is a demonstration of the closeness of defence relations," he added.
 
In a similar vein, Mr Fawcett said that the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between the two countries is a good bedrock for bilateral training.
 
Noting that Singapore is the only nation, apart from the United States, that Australia allows to conduct unilateral training in the country, he said: "As you see in this exercise, we bring the two forces together and we prove our ability to operate."
 
Exercise Trident, which takes place from 31 Oct to 14 Nov, is the third and final frame of Exercise Wallaby, the SAF's largest overseas exercise. 
 
In its 28th edition this year, Exercise Wallaby involved more than 3,800 personnel from the Army, Navy and Air Force, along with 365 ground vehicles, 18 aircraft and 13 sea craft.

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