Navy joins major Asian exercise
Tuesday 15 April 1997
The 13-day exercise, codenamed Flying Fish '97, involving 39 warships and 160 combat aircraft, is the most ambitious in the history of the Five Power Defence Agreement (FPDA), the region's only multi-national defence pact involving powers from outside the area.
The pact involves five Commonwealth states. Three outside powers - Britain, Australia and New Zealand - are required to consult on the defence of Singapore and Malaysia.
The region is seen as one of the world's major potential flashpoints. The exercise is taking place only a few hundred miles from the Spratly Islands, variously claimed by China, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.
Malaysia is reducing its defence spending, in spite of its booming "tiger" economy, but takes the possibility of conflict with China over the islands very seriously.
Britain is contributing 3,000 sailors and 16 ships, including the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious, a nuclear-powered submarine, HMS Trenchant, an anti-aircraft destroyer, HMS Gloucester, two anti-submarine frigates, HMS Beaver and HMS Richmond, and two support ships, Royal Fleet Auxiliaries HMS Fort George and and HMS Diligence.
The British naval force left home in January as part of Ocean wave 97 - a major naval deployment which is visiting 34 countries, with the aim of demonstrating that Britain continues to have security interests in the region after Hong Kong is handed back to China on 1 July. Navy sources said Flying Fish comprised two five-day stages which would put progressively greater pressure on the ships, including submarine and air attacks.
But it would take account of the different environment in the shallow waters off the east coast of Malaysia, about 100 miles north of Singapore, with large numbers of fast patrol boats and missile attack craft.
- 1 Turkish President: 'Equality between men and women is against nature'
- 2 Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
- 3 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 4 Bill Cosby: Isn’t it obvious why his accusers have stayed silent up until now?
- 5 Isis propaganda image showing 'abuse of Muslim woman by soldiers' is actually taken from Hungarian porn film
Turkish President: 'Equality between men and women is against nature'
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Ferguson decision: Tea Party website mocks Michael Brown's family over T-shirt typo
Michael Brown shooting: Ten things we know – or know better – now the Ferguson grand jury's work is over
Isis propaganda image showing 'abuse of Muslim woman by soldiers' is actually taken from Hungarian porn film
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE - SENIOR POSITION - An exciti...
£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...
£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor is req...
£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Yorkshire based firm looking to...