The prime ministers of Singapore and Australia have today signed a memorandum of understanding to bolster defense links between the two Asia-Pacific countries.
For now, the outlines of the expanded cooperation are relatively vague. The Singaporean government says the agreement should “further expand military cooperation, including military exercises, developing military expertise, and resource sharing.” (A RSAF KC-135 refueling RAAF F-111s during a Pitch Black exercise. Credit: RAAF)
Defense technology is one of the areas where the two plan to work more closely together. That includes sharing of information, facilities and know-how.
Cooperative research and development is also on the agenda, as are joint system trials and experiments and the exchange of personnel. No specific hardware initiatives have been identified at this point. Both Singapore and Australia are F-35 Joint Strike Fighter customers, so that is one area the two could end up working together.
The agreement, signed by Australian PM Kevin Rudd and his Singaporean counterpart, Lee Hsien Loong, also enshrines a policy dialogue between the two sides, which will take the form of an annual high-level meeting.
A deepening of the military cooperation at an operational level is also being pursued. Again, details are sketchy, but the two sides say that it could cover work in fields such as “humanitarian and disaster relief, search and rescue and peace support.”