More than 60 Australian and Indonesian personnel from a range of specialist functions trained side-by-side in Surabaya, Indonesia, as part of Exercise Nusa Bhakti Ausindo 22 (NBA22).
CAPTION: From left, Flight Lieutenant Stephanie Freeman, Captain Bianca Potter, Lieutenant Colonel Bayu Widaji and Major Rizka Budiman discuss joint logistics during Exercise Nusa Bhakti. Story and photo by Major Martin Hadley.
The exercise alternates between Indonesia and Australia each year.
As this year’s host, Indonesian personnel developed the training scenario, which involved Bali being impacted by a volcanic eruption, covering the region in ash, rocks and acid, along with flooding of up to 3.5 metres. More than 3000 people were killed or injured and 122,000 locals and visitors were forced to flee.
ADF personnel and their partners in the Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) used the exercise to focus on the planning and execution of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations.
Air Force Attaché Group Captain Kenneth Bowes said being able to operate together was an important part of the relationship between the ADF and TNI.
“Activities such as NBA22 help develop friendships, deepen understanding of each other and develop standard operating procedures and processes,” Group Captain Bowes said.
“The broad range of people involved will provide realistic exposure to the way Australia and Indonesia will deal with a HADR response in the Asia-Pacific region.”
CAPTION: From left, Major Iwan Sunarya, Major Ilham Widi and Lieutenant Commander Bradley Williams discuss logistics planning. Photo by Major Martin Hadley.
Group Captain Bowes’ views were echoed by TNI Lieutenant Colonel Taufik Nur Cahyanto who said Indonesia was particularly prone to natural disasters.
“Historically in these situations, Australia and Indonesia have enjoyed a strong relationship,” Lieutenant Colonel Cahyanto said.
“For us to both respond to a HADR operation, we will need to maintain this through enduring joint exercises.”
“NBA22 helps to strengthen the bilateral military relationship, foster mutual operations and promote practical cooperation in HADR response.”
Exercise NBA22 was supported by a range of non-defence government and emergency services organisations such as the Indonesian Foreign Ministry, the International Red Cross Red Crescent, the Indonesian Red Cross, and both nations’ respective disaster and emergency management agencies.
Most recently, the ADF and TNI have supported each other’s responses to natural disasters during Australia’s catastrophic 2019-20 bushfires, and, after the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Palu in 2018.