14 April 2009

Brunei Air Wing Expands With Delivery

13 Maret 1997

The Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) will edge toward the long-delayed expansion of its air wing with the planned delivery mid-year of one Airtech CN-235 transport aircraft and four PilatusPC-7 turbo trainers at undisclosed cost. Initially agreed in 1988, the CN-235 will be the first of three to be delivered from Indonesia.

CN-235 of the Royal Brunei Air Force (photo : Airliners)

The additional two platforms, whose delivery dates remain undetermined, should be the maritime patrol version intended to provide the air wing with its first airborne surveillance capability. The Swiss-made PC-7s could supplement, or replace, the RBAF's current inventory of two SIAI-Marchetti SF.260W trainer aircraft to obtained in 1982. These are the only fixed-wing aircraft operated by the RBAF. The air wing also operates 23 helicopters. The unexpected PC-7 acquisition may signal a renewed interest in obtaining BAe Hawk 100 advanced jet trainer/combat aircraft from the UK. Implementation of this deal has been delayed for a decade.

UK Defence Secretary Michael Portillo raised the proposed Hawk sale, likely to involve at least eight aircraft, during his visit last month to the capital city Bandar Seri Begawan. He said the RBAF "clearly wants to buy the Hawks," and added that "Brunei [first] needs to take some important decisions on how these will be operating and from where. "Brunei's lack of sufficient military infrastructure has been a significant factor delaying the air wing's proposed expansion. Brunei International Airport, used for both civil and military purposes, is the country's only fully equipped airfield though there is also a small facility called Anduki Airfield run by the Brunei Shell oil company.

Sumber : Jane’s

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