The Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) has down-selected two companies who will compete for the Support Helicopter Project (SH Poject) contract, namely Eurocopter and Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation (Sikorsky). With Royal Brunei Air Force (RBAirF) fleet of Bell 212 and BO105 nearing the end of its operational life, the SH Project was brought about in line with the need to replace and enhance the RBAirFâ€™s rotary wing capacity as identified in the Defence White Paper Update 2007.
The delivery of technologically advanced new aircraft will allow the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) to strengthen its troop deployment capabilities in operations both locally and regionally.
In August 2010, the MINDEFâ€™s Centre of Science and Technology, Research and Development (CSTRAD), was entrusted to manage the SH Project. Four renowned helicopter vendors who expressed interest in the SH Project were issued an Invitation to Tender (ITT). With all four vendors having reputable experience in delivering to military operators, they were each requested to propose an innovative helicopter replacement solution suitable to meet the RBAFâ€™s needs. The vendorsâ€™ proposals went through a comprehensive down-selection process which has allowed CSTRAD to systematically determine the best two proposals, timely and effectively.
Both Eurocopter and Sikorsky are global helicopter manufacturing companies which offer reliable and battle proven aircraft designed specifically to meet the rigor of various military missions. To meet RBAFâ€™s military missions, Eurocopter has proposed a two platform solution the large utility EC725 helicopter and the smaller light utility EC645T2 helicopter. Sikorsky on the other hand, has offer itâ€™s S-70i BLACK HAWK, which is an international variant of the UH-60M helicopter currently used by the US Army.
Contract negotiations with the two down-selected vendors will ensue after the On-Site Evaluation, with an expected contract award date by the end of the year. The first batch of new helicopters are expected to be delivered and introduced into service by 2014.
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