Singapore, Australia conduct bilateral amphibious warfare exercise

Previous iteration of Exercise Trident.
Previous iteration of Exercise Trident.

The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and the Australian Defence Force (ADF) are conducting a bilateral ship-to-shore exercise at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area in Queensland, Australia, from 23 September to 3 October, involving more than 1,600 personnel drawn from both militaries.

The 2022 edition of Exercise Trident, which is also a component of the SAF’s broader Exercise Wallaby event, is the largest since its introduction in 2013 with the deployment of two Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) Endurance-class landing ship, tank (LST) platforms – RSS Endurance and RSS Persistence – and the inaugural participation of the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN’s) Canberra-class landing helicopter dock (LHD) HMAS Adelaide.

According to the Singaporean Ministry of Defence (MINDEF), the amphibious exercise is also being supported by the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s (RSAF’s) CH-47 Chinook heavy lift helicopters, which are providing transport for the initial wave of troops embarked on all three ships. RSAF AH-64D Apache attack helicopters provide aerial firepower support for deployed troops.

The SAF and the ADF share a long history of military cooperation with extensive interactions that include bilateral and multilateral exercises as well as professional exchanges. Singapore has also undertaken military training in Australia for over 30 years, using the latter’s expansive land and airspace for large scale manoeuvres and live-firing opportunities.

These exercises are a feature of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between Australia and Singapore, with both countries jointly developing key training areas in Queensland under the Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative.

Singapore Minister of Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen underscored the importance of access to overseas training facilities such as Shoalwater Bay Training Area, noting that such opportunities are “a morale booster…and very, very valuable” for SAF troops.

“Australia is proud to count Singapore as one of its closest partners. Our defence relationship is characterised by trust and friendship, underpinned by our shared commitment to the region,” said Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Richard Marles.

“Exercise Trident enables us to deepen our military-to-military ties and shows how closely we can work together when it counts,” he added.

by Jr Ng