Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) suspended its largest overseas exercise, Exercise Wallaby 2020, due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, the service announced.
Inaugurated in 1990, Exercise Wallaby is the SAF’s largest overseas exercise involving air, land and sea components and is conducted annually in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) in Queensland, Australia.
“The Ministry of Defence appreciates the strong support of the Australian Government, the Australian Department of Defence, Australian Defence Force and the local communities of Rockhampton and Livingstone Shire for the SAF training there over the years”, said a statement from Singapore’s Ministry of Defence (MINDEF).
The SAF has suspended all large scale overseas exercises this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When conditions improve, Singapore may continue with smaller-scale training activities in Australia, in full compliance with their safety requirements to prevent the spread of disease.
“Our bilateral defence ties with Australia continue to be strong. The joint development of training areas and advanced training facilities in Central and North Queensland will deepen defence cooperation and benefit both armed forces and defence establishments for many years to come. We look forward to future editions of Exercise Wallaby”, the statement added.
Last year’s Exercise Wallaby was conducted from 24 September to 7 November 2019 and involved about 3,000 personnel and 300 platforms from the Singapore Army and the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF).
SWBTA training area is about four times the size of Singapore and allows the SAF to conduct large-scale complex training to hone its operational competencies.