The Brunei Ministry of Defence announced its selection of the S-70i Black Hawk aircraft on November 15 following several months of rigorous evaluation of competing helicopters. Sikorsky signed the contract December 2 in Brunei, beating off Eurocopter’s EC 725 Cougar. The AgustaWestland AW139 and Bell 412 were earlier dropped from the competition.
The S-70i is the latest variant of the Black Hawk helicopter family. The aircraft provides operators with the same power and lift performance as UH-60M Black Hawk aircraft, as used by the US military. The S-70i aircraft is sold directly by Sikorsky to international militaries and government agencies.
The S-70i aircraft's avionics include a dual GPS/INS system with digital map that provides accurate navigation and enhanced situational awareness. An active vibration control system delivers smooth overall ride during flight, Sikorsky said.
"We thank the Brunei Government for selecting the S-70i Black Hawk aircraft to fulfill the Royal Brunei Armed Forces Support Helicopter Project," said Robert Kokorda, Sikorsky Sales and Marketing Vice President. "We look forward to a close collaboration with the Royal Brunei Armed Forces to provide best-in-class helicopter training and logistics support for the lifetime of the aircraft."
As part of the contract, Sikorsky will place an S-70i aircraft simulator in the south-east Asia region. The simulator will enable Brunei aircrew to become familiar with the helicopter, especially in the months leading up to the arrival of S-70i aircraft in Brunei beginning in 2013. Deliveries should conclude in 2015.
The Black Hawks, ordered under the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) Support Helicopter Project, will replace the current fleet of Bell 212 and BO 105 helicopters. They will meet requirements identified in the Defence White Paper Update 2007.
Currently more than 3,000 Black Hawk helicopters are operating in 30 countries.
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