Black Hawks for Brunei
Thanks to its location on the oil-rich Island of Borneo, which it shares with Indonesia and Malaysia, the State of Brunei Darussalam is best known to most people as a frequent Guinness Book of World Records entry, with its Sultan as the world’s richest man. The former British protectorate also has a small but well trained and well equipped armed forces. As part of its ongoing modernization, the Royal Brunei Armed Forces Support Helicopter Project decided to replace the air force’s existing fleet of 10-11 Bell 212 twin-Hueys (1st squadron) and 4 Bo-105 helicopters (2nd squadron), with 12 of Sikorsky’s S-70i International medium utility helicopters. The RBAF already operates 4 earlier-model S-70 Black Hawks, and the S-70Is are expected to be delivered between 2013 – 2015. Once delivered, all RBAF assets are based at Brunei International Airport.
Brunei’s Defence White Paper Update 2007 included a requirement for a single wave tactical air lift, and the region’s history of typhoons, volcanoes, etc. makes helicopters very useful for regional humanitarian missions. A February 2011 Invitation to Tender opened the RBAF’s Support Helicopter Project competition to 4 vendors. In July 2011, Brunei’s MINDEF decided that Sikorsky and Eurocopter were the finalists…
Dec 3/13: Delivery. Brunei receives its first 4 of 12 new S-70i helicopters, immediately doubling its Black Hawk fleet. Source: Rotorhub, “Brunei takes delivery of first Black Hawks”.
Feb 15/12: Support. Sikorsky announces a Basic Ordering Agreement with the Brunei Ministry of Defence to support both its new S-70i Black Hawks, and the current fleet of 4 S-70s.
Nov 15/11: Contract. Brunei joins Turkey and Mexico as S-70i customers. Price was not disclosed, but the contract is likely to be worth more than the Sultan’s collection of 362 Bentleys. Which, sadly, aren’t used as Army personnel carriers. Brunei MINDEF.