The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) concluded a bilateral live-firing exercise with the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) last week as part of an annual bilateral military exercise and a demonstration of the growing defense ties between the two countries.
Defense relations between Germany and Singapore have been developing gradually over the years. A key point in bilateral defense ties came in September 2005, when both countries signed a Defense Cooperation Agreement to formalize their defense interactions, which include high-level visits and exchanges, policy dialogues and technological collaboration.
Since 2009, the two sides have also held Exercise Panzer Strike. Over time, the exercise has grown in both scale and complexity, and Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is now able to train at the Oberlausitz Military Training Area (OMTA) in Germany as part of the exercise. That has been important because OMTA, which is about the quarter the size of Singapore, has given the SAF the flexibility to train without the space constraints they experience at home, including concurrent live-firing of up to four ranges for armored units and engaging targets at greater ranges. As I have noted before, this is a key consideration for Singapore in its defense relationships (See: “The Enduring Strategic Logic of the New Australia-Singapore Military Training Drill”).
This year’s exercise, the ninth in the series, is being conducted over two training windows, one in spring from March 14 to May 3, and one in autumn from September 12 to November 3. According to a statement released by Singapore’s defense ministry (MINDEF), the exercise involves more than 1,300 servicemen and trainees from the 1st Company 48th Battalion Singapore Armored Regiment (48 SAR) and the Armor Training Institute, along with the German Army counterparts from the Gebirgspanzerbataillon 8. MINDEF said that the exercise also featured 13 Leopard 2SG Main Battle Tanks and 16 Bionix Infantry Fighting Vehicles.
On April 5, the two armies concluded the bilateral live-firing exercise component of the Panzer Strike exercise in OMTA, Germany. The spring window of the exercise will continue till early May as scheduled.