HM opens fourth BRIDEX

, National 2 minutes, 34 seconds


AMID the deafening roar of fighter jets, helicopters and drones soaring through the skies, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam launched the fourth Brunei Darussalam Defence Exhibition (BRIDEX) with much fanfare in Jerudong yesterday.

BRIDEX is a biennial platform for leading manufacturers, suppliers and professionals to showcase the latest innovations and technological developments in the defence industry.

The crisp blue skies provided the ideal backdrop for a much-anticipated air show, featuring aircraft from Brunei, the United States, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.

His Majesty viewed the air demonstration from the glass dome of the BRIDEX venue, applauding as a Singaporean F-15 fighter jet and the Jupiter aerobatic team of the Indonesian Air Force lit up the sky with gravity-defying manoeuvres.

Also starring at the show was one of Brunei’s new S-70i Black Hawk helicopters, one of 12 new choppers expected to modernise the Royal Brunei Air Force’s fleet.

Accompanying the monarch to the event was His Royal Highness Prince General Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and HRH Prince `Abdul Malik.

The Sultan then toured the two exhibition halls for over two hours, visiting with each of the 90 exhibitors manning the booths. Thirty countries were represented during the showcase.

Exhibition Director Hjh Rosmawati Hj Manaf expressed her satisfaction with this year’s turnout, noting that more international delegates were attending this year’s BRIDEX compared to previous years, including a significant percentage of newcomers. The organisers also managed to sell out all the floor space at the exhibition

“It’s been amazing,” said Hjh Rosmawati, thanking everyone at Royal Brunei Technical Services and Ministry of Defence for their cooperation and support over the past two years of preparation.

The highlight of the exhibition was the unveiling of the Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk, a state-of-the-art helicopter that will be used for transport and training missions in Brunei and humanitarian efforts in the region.

Sikorsky presented a special pesambah (gift) to His Majesty, a miniature model of the Black Hawk decorated with the colours of the US Marine Corps.

The Arms Corporation of the Philippines (ARMSCOR) also presented the monarch with a gold plated VZ 9mm hand gun.

After a break for lunch, the royal entourage moved to the Royal Brunei Air Force Base in Rimba via chopper to view the static display of aircraft in town for BRIDEX 2013. The Sultan inspected several military aircraft from the US, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Germany, taking the time to speak with the crews and pose for pictures.

His Majesty also officially opened the new Air Movement Centre at Rimba, a facility to monitor Brunei military aircraft missions.

The BRIDEX showcase will be open to the public on Thursday from 9am to 5pm and on Friday from 8am to 11.30am. An air show will take place on both days at 9am at the BRIDEX venue in Jerudong. Visitors can also go to Rimba Air Base to view the aircraft in the afternoon from 2pm to 5pm.

The Brunei Times