RBAirF: Playing its role in air surveillance, support

The Royal Brunei Air Force (RBAirF), then known as Helicopter Platoon, received the Jet Ranger Bell 206A and two 206B II helicopters for flying training from the Worldwide Helicopters Company in February 1968.

RBAirF marked a new milestone when it trained the first two pilots locally, Second Lieutenant Awangku Abidin bin Pengiran Ahmad and Second Lieutenant Jocklin bin Kongpaw. The local pilots clocked a total of 90 hours in-flight training using these helicopters upon completing their basic flying training at the British Executive Air Services Limited of Kidlington, Oxford in Britain, in the previous year.

Commanding Officer of the Helicopter Platoon Major H Marshall conducted the advanced flying training for both pilots, which was based and equivalent to British standards.

As the primary institution responsible for national airspace defence, RBAirF also plays a vital role in air surveillance of land and maritime borders, air support for land and maritime protection, and air support for other government departments (OGDs), including security agencies.

The effectiveness of delivering its air power is based on the evolution and transformation of its organisational structure, air asset capabilities, and robust and resilient human resource management. It enables RBAirF to deliver its roles, tasks, and responsibilities efficiently.

World Wide Helicopters personnel unpack and assemble the new helicopter. PHOTO: RBAirF

RBAirF developed its air assets for air operations with the procurement of Bell 205-A1 helicopters, Bell 212 helicopters and 214ST helicopter, Bolkow B0105 helicopters, as well as the Blackhawk S70A and S70i helicopters through the years.

These helicopters have capabilities for tactical airlift, medical evacuation, search and rescue and close air support.

RBAirF’s airpower’s evolution continued to set the pace with new air assets and equipment, enabling greater participation in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) missions locally and abroad.

It played an essential role in providing air support for regional mission and operations, most notably the HADR efforts during the Tsunami in Aceh, Republic of Indonesia, and the search and rescue operations in Ba Kelalan, Sarawak, Malaysia and humanitarian aid and disaster relief efforts during the Tsunami in Tacloban, Republic of the Philippines.

RBAirF has also contributed to assisting the national effort for airlifts and evacuation tasks during a bus accident in Sabah, Malaysia.