Australia and Indo-Pacific partners conclude multilateral exercise in Timor-Leste

Department of Defence

ADF personnel have completed the ninth iteration of Exercise Hari’i Hamutuk in Timor-Leste with defence partners from across the Indo-Pacific region.

The multilateral engineering exercise involved a combined ADF contingent who worked closely with the Forҫas de Defesa de Timor-Leste (F-FDTL), the New Zealand Defence Force, the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force and the United States Navy.

Hari’i Hamutuk, which means ‘build together’ in Tetum, was conducted from August to September and focused on exchanging trade-skills, supporting the growth of Timor-Leste’s defence capability and increasing interoperability between the ADF and partner nations.

The ADF completed construction enhancements at the Tilomar Border Outpost in the country’s south west, and completed numerous construction and maintenance projects at the Metinaro Military Base and the Port Hera Naval Base.

Contingent Commander Major Michael Cannington said Exercise Hari’i Hamutuk 2021 greatly enhanced the relationships between partner forces throughout the region.

“Australia and Timor-Leste have a long history of military cooperation reflecting the strong friendship and bonds between our two nations,” Major Cannington said.

“Working together with the F-FDTL and other nations has allowed us to continue to build trust in our shared knowledge and common engineering practices.”

Exercise Hari’i Hamutuk 21 involved ADF Mobile Training Teams drawn from the Army’s 1st Combat Engineer Regiment, 10th Force Support Battalion, 1st Close Health Battalion, School of Military Engineering and the Royal Australian Air Force.

These teams delivered specialised training to F-FDTL personnel in vertical and horizontal construction, vehicle, heavy equipment and small engine maintenance, air conditioning repair, water purification, combat engineering, welding, medical skills, catering skills, signals, operational planning and logistics.

Participating this year was Sapper Bianca Kempen, on attachment from the Australian Army School of Military Engineering. “I learnt a lot of Tetum during my time here, and how to work and assist other trade specialities from not only the ADF but from across all partner nations,” Sapper Kempen said.

“Being able to work closely with partner forces including the F-FDTL has given me the opportunity to learn and hone new skills and techniques which I wouldn’t have been exposed to back in Australia.”

On return to Australia, ADF personnel will undertake 14 days of quarantine. Their arrival and quarantine does not affect the repatriation of Australians from overseas, or impact international arrival caps.

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