RBAirF completes S-70i Black Hawk fleet
THE Royal Brunei Air Force (RBAirF) has taken delivery of all its Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk helicopters, said the RBAirF Commander yesterday.
Speaking at the RBAirF’s 49th anniversary celebration, Brigadier General (U) Dato Seri Pahlawan Hj Wardi Hj Abdul Latip revealed that the organisation received its entire fleet of S-70i Black Hawk helicopters earlier this year.
He said the RBAirF is recruiting more pilots and technicians, which has led to “a positive impact in meeting the needs of the country”.
Brigadier General (U) Dato Seri Pahlawan Hj Wardi Hj Abd Latip also said the RBAirF is collaborating with the CAE Brunei Multi-Purpose Training Centre (MPTC) to improve the recruitment and screening of potential pilots in a bid to expedite the process of training effective pilots. According to CAE Brunei MPTC, the PC-7 flight training simulator will be used to conduct recruitment and screening for RBAirF officers interested in becoming military pilots.
The S-70i Black Hawk helicopters, procured by the Ministry of Defence (MinDef) in 2011, were uniquely configured with role flexibility to replace the fleet of Bell 212 and BO105 helicopters that were in operation with the RBAirF for over three decades.
Delivery of the new fleet will enhance the RBAirF’s rotary wing capabilities in air mobility, tactical air lift, special operations, regional deployment as well as surveillance of Brunei’s waters and borders.
The procurement of the S-70i Black Hawk helicopters was among the sweeping changes undertaken by MinDef to fulfill the requirement of a single-wave tactical airlift as identified in the Defence White Paper.
Apart from supply of the 12 aircraft, the contract between MinDef and Sikorsky also covers spare parts, ground support equipment and training package.
The new aircraft were reportedly equipped with technology to enable vision in both day and night operations.
In addition, the S-70i Black Hawk helicopters can fly up to 500 nautical miles with a considerable number of troops.
The Brunei Times