Royal Brunei Air Force

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This article is about the military Air Force of Brunei. The commercial airline can be found at Royal Brunei Airlines.
Angkatan Tentera Udara Diraja Brunei
Royal Brunei Air Force emblem.svg
Royal Brunei Air Force insignia
Active 1965
Country Brunei
Branch Air Force
Role No. 1 Squadron
No. 2 Squadron
No. 3 Squadron
No. 4 Squadron
No. 5 Squadron
Parachute Airborne Tactical Delivery Unit (PATDU)
Fire Unit
Size Five squadrons
Part of Royal Brunei Armed Forces
Garrison/HQ Rimba Air Force Base
Commanders
Current
commander
Brigadier General (U) Hj Jofri bin Abdullah
Notable
commanders
Brigadier General (U) Hj Mahmud bin Saidin, first Bruneian with fighter pilot's licence
Insignia
Roundel Roundel brunei.svg

The Royal Brunei Air Force (RBAirF) or Angkatan Tentera Udara Diraja Brunei (ATUDB) as it is known by its Malay name, is the air force of the sultanate of Brunei. It is mainly based at the Rimba Air Base within the Brunei International Airport.[1] 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.[2]

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 1965.[1] The Royal Air Force provides human resources specialists such as pilots and aircraft technicians to assist the Royal Brunei Air Force.[3]

History[edit]

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 the 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]

Currently, the commander of the Royal Brunei Air Force is Brigadier General Jofri Abdullah.

Organisation[edit]

The Air Force is divided into 5 Wings:[5]

  • Operation Wing
  • Air Regiment
  • Logistics Wing
  • Training Wing
  • Administration Wing

The Operation Wing consists of 4 Flying Squadrons and two addition units:[6]

  • The First Squadron is equipped with Bell 212 and Bell 214ST helicopters. The primary roles of the First Squadron are for trooplift, casualty evacuation, medical evacuation, fire suppression, VVIP lift and search and rescue.[6]
  • The Second Squadron is equipped with Bolkow BO 105 helicopters. The primary roles of the Second Squadron are to provide flying doctor, reconnaissance, surveillance, VVIP lift and search and locate services.[6]
  • The Fourth Squadron is equipped with Blackhawk S-70A helicopters. The primary roles of the Fourth Squadron are special combat squadron operation task, trooplift, casualty evacuation, medical evacuation, fire fighting, VVIP lift and search and rescue.[6]
  • The Fifth Squadron is equipped with a CN-235 aircraft. The primary roles of the fifth Squadron are to provide trooplift, surveillance and search and locate capabilities.[6]
  • The Parachute Airborne Tactical Delivery Unit (PATDU) provides jungle rescue team, jungle line resupply, multi rope abseil. The PATDU are also involvde in parachute competitions at the regional or international level.[7]
  • The Fire Unit provides cover if any aircraft during an emergency.[7]

The Air Regiment consists of 3 Squadrons and Technical Training School:[7]

  • The 33rd Squadron was formerly known as the Air Battery. The 33rd Squadron is equipped with the Rapier missile launcher.[7]
  • The 38th Squadron is equipped with the Mistral missile launcher.[7]
  • The Base Defence Squadron is responsible for the protection of the Rimba Air Base at the Brunei International Airport and any Forward Operating Base.[7]
  • The Technical Training School is responsible for producing qualified technicians for Air Regiment and organising courses related to Air Regiment.[7]

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.[8]

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.[8]

The Administration Wing consists of the Physical Training Section, Pay Office, Regimental Police, Military Transport and Civilian Office.[9]

Incidents[edit]

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.[10] The cause of the accident has yet to be ascertained.[11] The crash is the worst aviation incident in the history of Brunei.

Aircraft Inventory[edit]

Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service[12] Notes
Bell 206B JetRanger  USA utility helicopter 9 First Squadron, in service 1974
Bell 214ST  USA transport helicopter 214ST 1 First Squadron, in service 1985 - all retired after 40 years in-service
MBB Bo 105CB  GER utility helicopter Bo 105CB 6[13] Second Squadron, in service 1981
Nurtanio/CASA-IPTN CN 235M  SPA transport CN 235MPA 1 (3 ordered) 2nd will be delivered in December 2013 and 3rd in 2014 Fourth Squadron - originally designated for Maritime patrol for 5th Squadron
Pilatus PC-7 Turbo Trainer   Swiss trainer 4 Third Squadron, MKII version, first delivery 1996
Sikorsky S-70A/C Black Hawk  USA utility helicopter S-70A 4 No 4 Squadron, in service 1997
Sikorsky S-70  USA POL transport helicopter S-70i 4 (12 on order)[14][15] additional 10 could be ordered
C-130 Hercules  USA transport lifter C-130J 1 Ordered Oct 2014

There have been plans to secure fighter capability by purchasing several BAe Hawk aircraft, but these plans have been delayed on several occasions.[16]

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.[17]

Brunei to acquire 3 CN235-220 CASA-IPTN CN 235M aircraft for maritime operations[18]

Brunei decided to acquire C-130J as its modernization for air lift capabilities in October 2014[19]

Brunei in decision making to acquire yet to be selected Medium-Range Air Defence

See also[edit]

References[edit]