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Royal Brunei Air Force
Tentera Udara Diraja Brunei
Royal Brunei Air Force emblem.svg
Badge of the Royal Brunei Air Force
Founded24 June 1966
Country Brunei
TypeAir force
RoleAerial warfare
Size21 aircraft[1]
Part ofRoyal Brunei Armed Forces
HeadquartersRimba Air Force Base
Commanders
CommanderBrig Gen Mohammad Sharif Ibrahim
Deputy CommanderCol Haszahaidi Ahmad Daud
Chief of staffLt Col Mohammad Albadii Shahnoel
Sergeant MajorWO1 Suridi Ibrahim
Notable
commanders
Brig Gen Mahmud Saidin @ Muhammad Saidin (first Bruneian with fighter pilot's licence)
Insignia
Fin flash
Fin Flash of Brunei.svg
Aircraft flown
HelicopterS-70i, Bell 206, Bell 214ST
ReconnaissanceRQ-21
TrainerPC-7
TransportCN-235

The Royal Brunei Air Force (RBAirF) (Malay: Tentera Udara Diraja Brunei, abbreviation TUDB) is the air force of the sultanate of Brunei. It is mainly based at the Rimba Air Force Base within the Brunei International Airport.[2] The role of the Royal Brunei Air Force is to defend the national airspace and to provide air surveillance of the land and maritime borders.[3]

The Royal Brunei Air Force was formed on 1 October 1991 from the Air Wing of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces. The Air Wing of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces had operated helicopters (the Bell 205) since 1966.[2]

History

The Royal Brunei Air Force was established as the Air Wing of the Royal Brunei Malay Regiment in 1965. It was first tasked to fly doctors to rural area with two Sikorsky S-55 aircraft, which was operated by pilots from the Worldwide Helicopter Company. In 1966, the tasks were taken over by pilots from the British Royal Air Force operating three Westland Whirlwind helicopters.[4]

In 1967, the unit was renamed as the Helicopter Platoon and received five Bell 206 Jet Ranger helicopters. The Air Technical Training School was established in 1980. In 1981, the Second Squadron was established and equipped with six Bolkow BO 105 helicopters. The Third Squadron was established in 1982 and equipped with SIAI-Marchetti SF260s. When Brunei assumed responsibility for its own defence from the United Kingdom in 1984 the Air Wing was expanded. On 1 October 1991, with the consent of The Sultan, the Air Wing was officially renamed the Royal Brunei Air Force.[4]

The Fourth Squadron was established in 1997 and was equipped with the Blackhawk S-70A helicopters. The Fifth Squadron was also established in 1997 and was equipped with a CN-235 plane and the Base Defence Squadron. In the same year, the Third Squadron received the Pilatus PC-7 Mark II training aircraft. The Thirty-Eight Squadron was established in 1999 and is equipped with the Mistral surface-to-air missile.[4]

In 2019, the RBAirF unveiled the Digital Disruptive Pattern BDU in digital gray colors at the 58th anniversary celebration at the Bolkiah Garrison.[5] As of 28 August 2020, the commander of the Royal Brunei Air Force is Brigadier General (U) Dato Seri Pahlawan Mohd Sharif bin Dato Paduka Haji Ibrahim.

Organisation

The Air Force is divided into 7 Wings:[6][7]

The Operation Wing consists of 4 Flying Squadrons and two addition units:[8]

The Air Regiment consists of 3 Squadrons and Technical Training School:[9]

The Logistics Wing consists of three units which are the Engineering Squadron, Supply Squadron and Technical Equipment Maintenance Department (TEMD). The role of the Engineering Squadron is to provide and maintain aircraft serviceability for operational use. The role of Supply Squadron is to provide logistical support and equipment for the personnel. The role of the TEMD is to provide maintenance for the aircraft.[10]

The Training Wing consists of the Third Squadron, which is also known as the Flying Training School (FTS), the Air Technical Training School (ATTS) and the Standard and Evaluation Squadron (STANEVAL). The Training Wing is responsible for recruiting and training pilots and technicians, as well as preparing pilot instructor courses and flying standards. The Third Squadron is equipped with Bell 206 Jet Ranger helicopters and Pilatus PC-7 Mk 2 aircraft.[10]

The Administration Wing consists of the Physical Training Section, Pay Office, Regimental Police, Military Transport and Civilian Office.[11]

Incidents

A Bell 212 operated by the air force crashed in Kuala Belait on 20 July 2012 with the loss of 12 of the 14 crew on board.[12] The cause of the accident has yet to be ascertained.[13] The crash is the worst aviation incident in the history of Brunei.

Equipments

Sikorsky S-70i

Current inventory

Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Transport
IPTN CN-235 Indonesia transport 1[14]
Airbus C295 Spain maritime surveillance / transport C-295W 3 on order[15]
Helicopters
Bell 214ST United States utility 1[14]
Sikorsky UH-60 United States utility / transport S-70i 12[14] Produced in Poland
Trainer Aircraft
Bell 206 United States rotorcraft trainer 2[14]
Pilatus PC-7 Switzerland trainer 4[14]
UAV
Meggitt Banshee United Kingdom Target drone Unknown [16]
Boeing Insitu RQ-21 Blackjack United States ISTAR 5[17][18] Acquired in 2021[19]

Aircraft Weapon Systems

Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Guns
M134 Minigun United States Rotary machine gun M134D 2022–present [20]
Rockets
FZ rockets Belgium Air-to-surface rockets 2003-2022 [21]
SURA Switzerland Unguided air-to-surface rockets SURA-D Unknown-2003 [21]

There have been plans to secure fighter capability by purchasing several BAE Hawk aircraft, but these plans have been delayed on several occasions.[22] In November 2011, the White House announced that a deal has been secured by Sikorsky to sell 12 UH-60Ms to the Royal Brunei Air Force.[23] The RBAirF is to acquire 3 CN235-220 CASA-IPTN CN 235M aircraft for maritime operations.[24] The C-130J Super Hercules is expected to be delivered to the RBAirF in 2018. Then RBAirF's commander, Brigadier General Wardi Abdul Latip, stated that the RBAirF was actively working with aerospace company Lockheed Martin to purchase the military transport aircraft, with delivery expected in 2018 or 2019.[25][26]

To boost Malaysia's security in eastern Sabah from the threats of militants from the southern Philippines as well as to dispose of older inventory, the Royal Brunei Air Force (RBAF) transferred four of its S-70A Black Hawk to the Royal Malaysian Air Force.[27][28] In 2014 eight Bell 212 helicopters were retired from service.[29]

During Royal Brunei Armed Forces Diamond Jubilee Celebration in 2021, a Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) program was launched by the Sultan of Brunei and a RQ-21 Blackjack model was unveiled by a US company, Insitu to the Sultan. This UAS will be used for maritime security surveillance role.[19]

MBB Bo 105

Retired

Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Transport
Hawker Siddeley HS 748 United Kingdom transport Unknown[30]
Helicopters
Bell 205 United States utility/transport 205-A1 3[31]
Bell 212 United States utility 5-7[32] Retired after 40 years of service
Sikorsky S-70 United States utility / transport S-70A 4[33] 4 Transferred to the Malaysian Air Force
MBB Bo 105 Germany utility 6[34] Retired after 41 years of service
Westland Wessex United Kingdom utility/transport 2[35]
Westland Whirlwind United Kingdom utility / transport 3[36]
Trainer Aircraft
Piper PA-28 Cherokee United States trainer 2[37] Retired in 1982
SIAI-Marchetti SF.260 Italy trainer 2[38] Surplus after the delivery of four Pilatus PC-7 Mk.II's in 1997

See also

References

  1. ^ "World Air Forces 2022". Flightglobal. 2022. Retrieved 21 January 2022.
  2. ^ a b Introduction Royal Brunei Air Force Archived 2 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine - Retrieved 21 April 2007
  3. ^ Roles Royal Brunei Air Force Archived 20 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine - Retrieved 21 April 2007
  4. ^ a b c History Royal Brunei Air Force Archived 20 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine - Retrieved 21 April 2007
  5. ^ "RBAF debuts new military uniforms | Borneo Bulletin Online". Archived from the original on 21 October 2022.
  6. ^ http://www.mindef.gov.bn/airforce/_layouts/15/start.aspx#/SitePages/About%20Us.aspx
  7. ^ Organisation Royal Brunei Air Force Archived 20 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine - Retrieved 21 April 2007
  8. ^ a b c d e Operation Wing Squadrons Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine - Retrieved 21 April 2007
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Air Regiment Squadrons Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine - Retrieved 21 April 2007
  10. ^ a b Logistics and Training Wing Royal Brunei Air Force Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine - Retrieved 21 July 2007
  11. ^ Administration Wing Royal Brunei Air Force Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine - Retrieved 21 July 2007
  12. ^ AFP (21 July 2012). "Brunei helicopter crash kills 12: air force". Archived from the original on 24 July 2012. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  13. ^ CNN Wire Staff. "12 killed in Brunei helicopter crash". Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  14. ^ a b c d e "World Air Forces 2023". Flightglobal Insight. 2023. Retrieved 23 November 2022.
  15. ^ "Brunei to acquire C295 transport aircraft". Janes. 6 December 2022. Retrieved 13 December 2022.
  16. ^ "News Headline". www.mindef.gov.bn. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
  17. ^ "Royal Brunei Air Force acquires Insitu Integrator unmanned aerial system". Janes.com. Retrieved 20 July 2022.
  18. ^ "s10.png | Servimg.com - Free image hosting service". servimg.com. Retrieved 1 August 2022.
  19. ^ a b Shareen Han (31 May 2021). "RBAF to use drones for maritime security surveillance". The Scoop.
  20. ^ "News Headline". mindef.gov.bn. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
  21. ^ a b Wilson, Gwen (8 February 2022). "Royal Brunei Air Force retires Bo105 fleet". HeliHub.com. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
  22. ^ British Aerospace Hawk Still Leads the Pack Flug Revue Online Archived 23 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine - Retrieved 21 April 2007
  23. ^ http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=defense&id=news/awx/2011/11/17/awx_11_17_2011_p0-395706.xml[dead link]
  24. ^ "Janes | Latest defence and security news". Archived from the original on 23 February 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  25. ^ "US clears way for Brunei purchase of Lockheed C-130J". Archived from the original on 5 August 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  26. ^ "RBAirF to get Super Hercules in 2018 | The BT Archive". btarchive.org. Retrieved 17 December 2022.
  27. ^ Marcel Burger (23 January 2015). "Brunei gives four Black Hawks as present to Malaysia". AIRheads. Archived from the original on 24 January 2015. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  28. ^ "Brunei transfers S-70A Blackhawks to Malaysian Armed Forces". Borneo Bulletin. 29 January 2015. Archived from the original on 31 March 2016. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  29. ^ "Bell 212 choppers decommissioned | the Brunei Times". Archived from the original on 1 July 2016. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  30. ^ "Zk-MCP Hs-748-2A-233".
  31. ^ "All-Time Aircraft Used List Royal Brunei Air Force – Aeroflight". Retrieved 14 October 2022.
  32. ^ "News - ROYAL BRUNEI AIRFORCE BIDS FAREWELL TO BELL".
  33. ^ "DEFENSE STUDIES: Brunei Transfers S-70A Blackhawks to Malaysian Armed Forces". 2015.
  34. ^ "News - BOLKOW 105 RETIREMENT FROM SERVICE CEREMONY..." mindef.gov.bn. Retrieved 14 October 2022.
  35. ^ "All-Time Aircraft Used List Royal Brunei Air Force – Aeroflight". Retrieved 14 October 2022.
  36. ^ "All-Time Aircraft Used List Royal Brunei Air Force – Aeroflight". Retrieved 14 October 2022.
  37. ^ "All-Time Aircraft Used List Royal Brunei Air Force – Aeroflight". Retrieved 14 October 2022.
  38. ^ "SF.260 military customers".