Facilities at three military bases in Timor-Leste have been upgraded thanks to a partnership between the Timor-Leste Defence Force – FALINTIL Forҫas de Defesa de Timor-Leste (F-FDTL), ADF and US Navy during Exercise Hari’i Hamutuk 2020.
ADF personnel, predominately soldiers from the Australian Army 1st Combat Engineer Regiment, focused on construction tasks working together with F-FDTL engineers during the exercise from September to October.
Members of the F-FDTL took on the roles of site foremen and tradesmen, demonstrating the skills gained over eight years of work between Timor-Leste, Australia and the US.
Exercise Hari’i Hamutuk 2020 was based out of Baucau Military Base.
One of the first tasks was the installation of a new solar-power system at the Cova military outpost south-west of the country’s capital, Dili.
Corpoal Michael Fitzpatrick from Australian Army 1st Combat Engineer Regiment said the task involved transporting stores more than 142km for the five-day build that replaced a diesel generator.
“The installation of solar in a remote and challenging environment has been a good opportunity to learn new electrical skills,” Corporal Fitzpatrick said.
“Our small team was entirely self-sufficient and had to adapt to accomplish the task. It was rewarding to work alongside the F-FDTL to improve facilities at Cova.”
At Baucau Military Base, tasks included the construction of a fuel station, the extension of an existing maintenance shed and the fitting out of four office rooms.
The majority of works were conducted by the F-FDTL’s Engineer Company, with ADF members in support.
Contingent Commander Captain Caitlin McDermid said he was proud of what was achieved.
“The works have been diverse and rewarding and it is great to see the enhanced skills of the F-FDTL,” Captain McDermid said.
“The ADF team has been able to better understand the capabilities of the F-FDTL engineers, enabling us to have the ability to work together seamlessly in the future.”
Exercise Hari’i Hamutuk included additional training across medical, catering, supply and signals.
A closing ceremony was held to recognise the construction achievements during the activity and to celebrate the ongoing friendship between the F-FDTL and ADF.
ADF members have now begun the strict process of quarantine and testing to adhere to Australian Government requirements before returning to their home units in Australia.