RBAF support helicopter achieves new milestones
The S-70i Black Hawk helicopter being delivered to the Brunei Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) has reached a number of important programme milestones, following the successful acceptance test for Brunei’s third baseline S-70i helicopter.
MINDEF signed a contract with Sikorsky International Operations for the delivery of twelve S-70i Black Hawk helicopters with spare parts, ground support equipment and training package in December 2011.
To date, the project has achieved several major milestones which include the completion of several design reviews and the completion of several baseline aircraft built in PZL Mielec, Poland. PZL Mielec, a Sikorsky company, produces the S-70i baseline Black Hawk helicopter which is the latest international variant of the UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter employed by the US Army.
A team from MINDEF recently conducted a site visit to the PZL Mielec facility in Poland to witness the factory acceptance test for Brunei’s third baseline S-70i Black Hawk helicopter. The first two baseline aircraft recently completed its factory acceptance tests in Poland in April 2012.
The first aircraft is scheduled to be inducted to Sikorsky Military Completions Centre (SMCC) in the United States on October 2012 for the start of customisation work to produce the uniquely configured aircraft that meets the Royal Brunei Armed Forces requirements.
The new helicopters are being delivered to replace the current fleet of Bell 212 helicopters currently in use, and enhance the Royal Brunei Air Force’s rotary wing capabilities in air mobility, Search and Rescue (SAR) and enhance surveillance of Brunei’s waters and borders.
The delivery of these advanced new aircrafts will also allow the Royal Brunei Armed Forces to further strengthen its troop deployment capabilities in military and humanitarian and disaster relief operations in the region.
The first batch of the uniquely configured aircraft is expected to be delivered to Brunei in early 2014.
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