The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is participating in the ASEAN Solidarity Exercise 2023 (ASEX 23) from 19 to 23 September 2023. Hosted and coordinated by the Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI), this exercise aims to enhance regional cooperation on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR), and on maritime security operations. The SAF is participating with personnel from the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and the Singapore Army. The RSN is also deploying a Victory-class Missile Corvette, RSS Vigour, to participate alongside ships, aircraft, and personnel from other ASEAN militaries.

Chief of Defense Force Vice Admiral Aaron Beng, together with participating Armed Forces Chiefs and representatives, attended the opening ceremony of the exercise, held in Batam, Indonesia, today. As part of the shore phase from 19 to 21 September, Head of the RSN’s Information Fusion Centre, Lieutenant Colonel Lester Yong, participated in a subject matter expert exchange and spoke on maritime security and information sharing as part of the panel of speakers. Personnel from the SAF will also participate in a joint planning exercise. This will be followed by sea and land-based civil military (CIMIC) components from 22 to 23 September, which include a simulated HADR scenario. At sea, ships will participate in maritime security, search and rescue, medical evacuation, and anti-piracy serials. For CIMIC, participants will take part in construction and medical efforts to assist the local population of Sabang Mawang Island in Indonesia.

ASEAN countries carry out regular defense exchanges aimed at enhancing practical cooperation between militaries. Exercises such as ASEX 23 contribute to confidence building and allow the militaries of ASEAN Member States to strengthen collaboration, enhance understanding, and build stable military-to-military relations to promote regional peace and stability.