THE Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) will put its disaster relief and medical capabilities to the test in the forests of Brunei next week as part of a multinational training exercise.
It will join 17 other countries in a drill aimed at improving military relations and teamwork in a disaster scenario.
The initiative will involve a total of 1,800 personnel, seven ships and 18 helicopters plus military medical, engineering and search and rescue teams from the participating nations.
Singapore will deploy 340 military personnel, four Super Puma helicopters and one landing ship tank for the four-day mission which starts on Monday.
Along with the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF), it will construct a shelter and relief base for casualties and displaced personnel.
The structure will then be handed over to a local primary school as part of a community outreach programme.
The SAF's medical team will also conduct community activities, such as dental services and health-care screening for the local community.
The operation is part of an inaugural exercise called the Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting-Plus Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR)/Military Medicine.
The other countries taking part include Australia, China, Japan, India, South Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the United States.
Director of joint operations, Brigadier-General Ngien Hoon Ping, will lead the Singapore contingent.
He said: "The exercise will also foster confidence and enhance military-to-military relations across all levels."
The exercise is jointly led by Brunei, Singapore, Japan, Vietnam and China.
Also being held in Brunei tomorrow is the 2nd Asean Militaries' HADR Exercise, which Singapore and Brunei will co-host.
This exercise aims to promote the familiarisation of national and regional HADR management mechanisms among Asean militaries.
It will be attended by the 10 Asean militaries.
SAF's Chief of Defence Force, Major-General Ng Chee Meng, and Commander of RBAF, Maj-Gen Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin, will officiate at the closing ceremony tomorrow.
CHAN HUAN JUN