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Singapore to expand scale, complexity of training in Australia under new bilateral treaty

23 March 2020
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Singapore and Canberra have signed a treaty that will allow the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) to have access to new and expanded military training areas in Australia that are set to be jointly developed by the two countries.

In a statement issued on 23 March the Singaporean Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) said that under the 'Treaty on Military Training and Training Area Development in Australia', which was signed that same day by Singaporean Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen and his Australian counterpart Linda Reynolds, both countries will jointly develop military training areas and facilities in an expanded Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) and the new Greenvale Training Area (GVTA) in Queensland, Australia.

SAF and ADF personnel participating in a bilateral ship-to-shore mission during 'Exercise Trident' in SWBTA in Queensland, Australia. (MINDEF)SAF and ADF personnel participating in a bilateral ship-to-shore mission during 'Exercise Trident' in SWBTA in Queensland, Australia. (MINDEF)

The treaty states that training facilities equipped with advanced targetry and instrumentation, such as the Combined Arms Air-Land Ranges and Urban Operations Live-Firing Facilities, will be built within the expanded SWBTA by 2024 and the new GVTA by 2028.

The Combined Arms Air-Land Ranges allow the Singapore Army and the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) to train together with tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles, artillery, and other combined arms platforms, while the Urban Operations Live-Firing Facilities enable various air and combined arms platforms to conduct live-firing in a realistic urban environment.

The facilities set to be built under the treaty, which is an upgrade of a bilateral memorandum of understanding signed in 2016 under the Singapore-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP), will be "mutually agreed upon by both countries", and procurement undertaken by Australia "will be carried out in a transparent, open and competitive manner", said the MINDEF.

Upon completion of the development work, the SAF will be able to conduct large-scale integrated training across all three services for up to 18 weeks every year for a period of 25 years in training areas approximately 10 times the size of Singapore, said the MINDEF.

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