JAKARTA, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- Indonesian and Australian air forces have commenced a joint air combat drill in Darwin, Australia's Northern territory, the Antara news agency reported on Tuesday.
Indonesia's Iswahyudi air force base commander First Marshall Bambang Samudro said that Indonesia deployed four F 16 fighter jets in the air combat drill entitled "2009 Elang Ausindo". Meanwhile its Australian counterpart, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), deployed seven F-18 fighter jets in the air combat drill session that will end on Sept. 4.
"The joint air combat drill is opened today with the air combat drill will commence on Tuesday. All of Indonesian personnel scheduled to return on Sept. 5," Bambang said on the sidelines of the opening ceremony held on Monday.
Bambang said that Indonesian air forces assigned 45 air forces personnel to take part in the session. Those personnel came from Indonesia's third air base Iswahyudi located in Madiun, East Java.
They will engage in the drill with Australia's 77 squadron personnel, he added.
Bambang said that the ongoing air combat drill in Darwin was the continuation of the previous drill held in Makassar, the capital city of Indonesia's South Sulawesi province two years ago.
Military cooperation between Indonesia and Australia commenced in 1968, marked with Indonesia's mapping program.
In 1980s, the cooperation continued by establishing "Indonesia-Australia Defence Cooperation Program" (DCP). The DCP required military officials of the two countries met regularly on annual basis.
The military of the two countries also set up other combat drill cooperation that entitled Kartika-Kangaroo, Albatros, Cassoary, Passex and New Horizon.
The military ties between the two countries were disrupted when the East Timor crisis occurred in 1999. All of the military cooperation programs authorized by DCP were freezed, except the education program.
The program resumed in 2001 with a series of informal meetings between Indonesian and Australian officials.