Exercise Haringaroo 68/2017 is a bilateral exercise involving troops from Malaysia and Australia. “Haringaroo” is the amalgamation of the words “harimau and kangaroo”, national emblems of the two British Commonwealth nations. The annual exercise is an offshoot of the Malaysian-Australian Joint Defence Programme (MAJDP) under the ambit of the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA).
The first Haringaroo exercise was held in 1977 and was named, ‘Exercise Scorpion’. Over the years it has evolved to what it is today. The exercise scenario is usually based on a Conventional Warfare or a limited war setting with emphasis on either one or all four phases of war – advance, defence, withdrawal and attack. It could also be a mixed Conventional Warfare cum Counter-Insurgency Warfare setting, considering our expertise in jungle warfare.
The field exercise normally involves a Malaysian infantry battalion with an Australian rifle company, placed under command. Exercise control is provided by the nominated infantry brigade. The responsibility for this year’s exercise falls on the Ipoh-based Second Malaysian Infantry Brigade.
The opening of the 11-day exercise was held on Tuesday, September 12 at Camp Syed Putra parade square. It was officiated by Commander First Division Australian Army, Maj-Gen Paul Mclachan and witnessed by the Chief of Staff of Headquarters 2nd Malaysian Infantry Division, Colonel Mohd Adzhar Abdul Latif.
The objectives of the exercise are: to foster closer relationship and understanding between members of both countries; to extend the knowledge of each other’s organisation, force capabilities, weapon systems and equipment; to train commanders, staff and troops at battalion level in field training exercise; to familiarise troops with the operational methods and procedures commonly employed by Malaysian and Australian army in the field; to practise all-arms tactics and to conduct administrative and logistic support in the field.
This year’s exercise scenario was a combination of Conventional Warfare and Jungle Warfare. Maj-Gen Paul Mclachan told Ipoh Echo, “That lets us to a whole lot of different skills within the soldiers which are very important. It allows soldiers from the 2nd Royal Ranger Battalion to teach us their specialty about operating in the jungle. We haven’t emphasised this enough in the Australian army. So this is the opportunity that coming to Malaysia gives our soldiers. It’s incredibly important that we operate in different environments.”
The exercise began with cross training held within the campground from September 13 to 16. This was followed by the actual exercise in the jungle of Sungai Siput from September 17 to 21. A total of 319 officers and other ranks from both sides were involved. The climax was the dawn attack on an entrenched enemy position by the composite battalion on the morning of Thursday, September 21.
“I am extremely pleased that our armies are able to work together for the common interest of both countries. This exercise is the manifestation and expression of our intimate military ties and cooperation. The Malaysian army is indeed honoured to host this exercise,” said Maj-Gen Dato’ Mohd Ramli bin Jaafar, General Officer Commanding 2nd Malaysian Infantry Division in his closing address at the end of the exercise held at the attack site in Sungai Siput.
Present were Brig-Gen Chris Field, Commander 3rd Brigade Australian Army and Brig-Gen Datuk Mohd Nizam bin Hj Jaffar, Commander 2nd Malaysian Infantry Brigade.