RAF News

Exercise in Malaysia comes to an end

Exercise Bersama Lima 19 has come to a conclusion.


During the 17 day exercise the RAF detachment, currently deployed to the region, has found itself being tested by increasingly demanding air activities that will culminate in a simulated full scale mission in the skies above Singapore.

Exercise Bersama Lima brings the militaries of Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom, who make up the FPDA, together in the region to develop their joint training, interoperability and understanding.  The FPDA is therefore an important element of the UK’s relationship with Malaysia, Singapore and is a key regional defence arrangement.

The Officer Commanding II (AC) Squadron said:

“It has been a genuine pleasure to work with the other Five Power nations throughout this exercise.  We really welcome the ability to work together with other Commonwealth countries in the spirit of friendship and collective training.

“We have conducted air combat, offensive intercepts, maritime close air support and multi-aircraft combined missions together, culminating in a complex air attack requiring coordination and cooperation between all countries and personnel.

“We are very much looking forward to returning to Malaysia and Singapore in 2021 to celebrate 50 years of the Five Powers Defence Arrangement, a milestone well worth celebrating as it represents a remarkable period of peace and stability for all our nations.”

One of the unique challenges of operating in South East Asia during Monsoon season is the prevalent thunderstorms and torrential downpours that occur most afternoons.  With a home base at RAF Lossiemouth in Northern Scotland, II(AC) Squadron, however are used to operating in some extreme weather conditions.  With careful operating procedures and the use of air-to-air refuelling, the crews have maintained their mission tempo throughout the period. 

The II (AC) Squadron detachment has been deployed on Exercise Bersama Lima the annual major Five Powers Defence Arrangements exercise and are currently operating from the Malaysian Air Force base at Butterworth, Penang, Malaysia.

In addition to the Typhoons, a RAF Voyager aircraft has also been deployed to Singapore for the first time to conduct air-to-air refuelling and has therefore allowed the Typhoons to increase their endurance in the air significantly.