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Tuesday, 26 October 1971
Page: 2563

Mr Whitlam asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:

On what occasions did Australian Forces join in exercises with (a) Malaysian and (b) Singaporean Forces in 1970-71.

Mr Fairbairn (FARRER, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Defence) - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

Elements of all 3 Services joined with forces from other 5 Power partners, including Malaysia and Singapore, in Exercise Bersatu Padu in July 1970.

Ships ot the Royal Australian Navy also exercised with units of the Malaysian and Singaporean navies in January, February and March 1971. Aircraft of the Royal Malaysian Airforce also participated in the February exercise.

The Royal Australian Air Force exercised with the Royal Malaysian Air Force in January and February 1971. Since February when the Commander of the Integrated Air Defence System was appointed, the RAAF has co-operated closely with the Malaysian and Singaporean airforces in working up the Integrated Air Defence System to operational status preparatory to it being inaugurated on September 1st, 1971. To give 3 examples only of the type of activities which have taken place during the working-up period:

(i)   since June 1971 RAAF Mirage aircraft have taken part in exercises with RMAF Sabre aircraft involving air combat tactics;

(ii)   RAAF Mirages have participated in air defence exercises throughout the period during which numerous sorties were controlled by Malaysian controllers;

(iii)   similar exercises have been held regularly involving Singaporean controllers and detachments of Mirage aircraft sent to Singapore each month.

With the formal inauguration of the Integrated Air Defence System on September 1st this year it may be expected that activities such as those instanced above will become part of the normal day to day activities of the RAAF in Malaysia and Singapore

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