Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA)
Map of FPDA members
Founded16 April 1971 (1971-04-16)
TypeMilitary alliance

The Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA), also called the Durian Pact[1], are a series of defence relationships and mutual cooperation established by a series of multi-lateral agreements between Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the United Kingdom (all Commonwealth members and former colonies of the British Empire) signed in 1971, whereby the five powers are to consult each other "immediately" in the event or threat of an armed attack on any of these five countries for the purpose of deciding what measures should be taken jointly or separately in response.

There is no specific commitment to intervene militarily, unless in a dire situation. The Five Powers Defence Arrangements do not refer to exclusive economic zones (EEZ) and the enforcement of a state's EEZ rights is a matter for that state; a state may request the assistance of other states in so doing.[2]


The FPDA was set up following the termination of the United Kingdom's defence guarantees of Malaysia under the Anglo-Malayan Defence Agreement, as a result of the UK's decision in 1967 to withdraw its armed forces east of Suez. Under the Five Powers Defence Arrangements, the five 'powers' (Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore and the UK) are to consult each other "immediately" in the event or threat of an armed attack on any of the five countries for the purpose of deciding what measures should be taken jointly or separately in response. There is no specific commitment to intervene militarily.[3] The FPDA provides defence co-operation between the countries, establishing an Integrated Air Defence System (IADS) for Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore based at RMAF Butterworth under the command of an Australian Air Vice-Marshal (2-star). RMAF Butterworth, was under the control of the Royal Australian Air Force until 1988, and is now run by the Royal Malaysian Air Force but hosts rotating detachments of aircraft and personnel from all five countries.

In 1981, the five powers organised the first annual land and naval exercises. Since 1997, the naval and air exercises have been combined. In 2001, HQ IADS was redesignated Headquarters Integrated "Area" Defence System. It now has personnel from all three branches of the armed services, and co-ordinates the annual five-power naval and air exercises, while moving towards the fuller integration of land elements. An annual FPDA Defence Chiefs' Conference (FDCC) is hosted by either Malaysia or Singapore, and is the highest military professional forum of the FPDA and serves as an important platform for dialogue and exchange of views among the Defence Chiefs.[4] There is also a Five Powers Defence Arrangements Ministerial Meeting (FDMM).[5]

John Moore, then Minister of Defence of Australia said, "As an established multilateral security framework, the FPDA has a unique role in Asia. It is of strategic benefit to all member nations and, in Australia's view, to the wider Asia-Pacific region."[6] Malaysia's CDF, former General (GEN) Tan Sri Dato' Sri Zulkifeli Bin Mohd Zin concurred: "We can help each other... and cooperate with one another."[7]

Personnel and facilities

The United Kingdom has the following personnel and facilities based in Singapore in support of the FPDA: a small Naval facility at Sembawang operated by Joint Forces Command and staff in the Integrated Area Defence System Headquarters (HQ IADS). Staff at Sembawang total three Ministry of Defence civil servants, one Chief Petty Officer and one Petty officer (RN). The present UK Defence Adviser to Singapore as of 2015 is a Royal Navy Commander.[8] In HQ IADS, it is one Wing Commander, one Squadron Leader, one Lieutenant Commander, one Major and one Flight Sergeant.[9]


RAF Typhoon aircraft on Exercise Bersama Lima 2019 at RMAF Butterworth.
RAF Typhoon aircraft on Exercise Bersama Lima 2019 at RMAF Butterworth.

Since its formation, the FPDA has conducted multilateral military exercises involving all five member states with operational command alternating between Australia, Singapore, and Malaysia.[11] These began as intermittent Air Defence Exercises (ADEX) in the 1970s before land and sea components were added in the 1980s.[12][11][13] They have since become yearly fixtures and have grown in complexity, combining air, sea and land components to address both conventional and non-conventional threats. Whilst most exercises take place off the coasts of Australia and Singapore, they have also extended into the South China Sea.[12][13] Non-FPDA representatives are often invited to observe the drills.[13]

Examples of FPDA exercises include:

40th Anniversary

On 1 November 2011, Singapore hosted FPDA's 40th anniversary celebrations, with the defence ministers, aircraft and servicemen from all five signatory countries converging on Changi Air Base (East) to participate in the event. Later, a gala dinner was hosted by Singapore's defence minister—Dr Ng Eng Hen at Singapore's Istana whereupon they called on the Prime Minister of Singapore—Mr Lee Hsien Loong to discuss a multitude of issues. Codenamed Exercise Bersama Lima, the three days joint exercise tested the readiness and co-operation between all participating countries and concluded on 4 November 2011.[20]


  1. ^ "The 'Durian Pact' Does It Again". The Diplomat. 1 December 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  2. ^ "Malaysia: Military Alliances:Written question - 2257". Parliament of the United Kingdom. 11 June 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  3. ^ "Military Alliances: 4 Nov 2013: Hansard Written Answers". TheyWorkForYou. 4 November 2013. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  4. ^ "News - Singapore Hosts 15th FPDA Defence Chiefs' Conference (07 Nov 13)" (Press release). MINDEF. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  5. ^ "Military Alliances: 5 Nov 2013: HansardHansard Written Answers". TheyWorkForYou. 5 November 2013. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  6. ^ "Media Release: Five Power Defence Meeting" (Press release). Defence Ministers & Parliamentary Secretary(Australia). 4 July 2000. Archived from the original on 2 February 2008. Retrieved 25 November 2007.
  7. ^ "Cyberpioneer - Five Power Defence Arrangements remain relevant (07 Nov 13)". 7 November 2013. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  8. ^ "Mission Locator". Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  9. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 17 Jun 2013 (pt 0002)". Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  10. ^ "New Commander of Singapore team prepares for carrier's Far East mission". Royal Navy. 25 November 2020. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  11. ^ a b c d "4 - The Five Power Defence Arrangements Exercises, 2004–10". Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  12. ^ a b c "The Five Power Defence Arrangements at Forty (1971-2011)". ResearchGate. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  13. ^ a b c d "Five Power Defense Arrangements in the Spotlight with Military Exercise". The Diplomat. 12 October 2017. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  14. ^ a b c d Thayer, Carlyle A. "The Five Power Defence Arrangements: The Quiet Achiever" (PDF). Kokoda Foundation. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  15. ^ "New Zealand Permanent Force Old Comrades Association" (PDF). Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  16. ^ "New Zealand Official Yearbook 1998". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  17. ^ "Navy joins major Asian exercise". Independent. 15 April 1997. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  18. ^ "EXERCISE BERSAMA PADU 2006". National Archives of Singapore. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  19. ^ "ANNUAL REPORT 2003-04". Australian Government Department of Defence. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  20. ^ "Singapore Hosts FPDA 40th Anniversary Celebrations" (Press release). Singaporean Ministry of Defence (MINDEF). 1 November 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2011.