The Royal Brunei Air Force (RBAirF) has retired its entire fleet of MBB Bolkow 105 helicopters after 41 years of service in a ceremony held at the Air Movement Centre (AMC), Rimba Air Force Base. The retirement ceremony of the fleet, which had operated under No.1 Wing, Operations Group, was attended by officers and personnel of RBAirF, most of whom have served with the Bolkow 105. Present as the guest of honour was Brigadier General (U) Dato Seri Pahlawan Mohammad Sharif bin Dato Paduka Haji Ibrahim, the Commander of RBAirF. The ceremony started with a speech delivered by the guest of honour. The event proceeded with the signing of a replicate of BAF 707: Change of Serviceability Log, which marked the official retirement of the fleet.
The Bolkow 105 is a versatile, fast and highly agile helicopter, hence, the callsign “Stinger”. It is known for its significantly small size and high manoeuvrability, and extraordinary responsiveness in carrying out specific tasks and combat operations that required precision and efficiency, such as emergency evacuation, sniper shooting and vehicle interdiction. The light helicopter featured a twin-engine capability that a crew of one in a single pilot operation or two pilots can operate. It plays a significant role in search and locate missions, providing air surveillance of land and maritime borders and troop lifts vital in ensuring the maintenance of national security.
The MBB Bolkow 105 was a German-made aircraft first introduced into No.2 Squadron, Air Wing in 1981 with a total of six helicopters. Before local personnel took over in 1993, the fleet was entirely administered and maintained by REME (Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineering), British Army Loan Service. Equipped with the Sura Rocket system, it intends to boost the nation’s defence and organisation’s overall operational preparedness by launching rocket projectiles at ground targets, providing air to ground support as well as close air support for ground troops. In 2003, the system was replaced with a new rocket system from Belgium known as Forges De Zeebrugge (FZ Rocket) that travels twice the speed of light with up to 10 kilometres radius.
The ceremony then continued with the presentation of mementoes from 12 Squadron and 52 Squadron to the RBAirF and the Commander of RBAirF. Bolkow 105 has had 36 pilots served with it since its inception 41 years ago, and the entire fleet has amassed a total of 32,000 flight hours. The retirement of MBB Bolkow 105 fleet ceremony was hosted by Acting Squadron Commander of 12 Squadron, Major (U) Mohd Adi Faiz, who has maintained his flying currency since 2014 and has clocked a total of 800 flying hours on the aircraft. The ceremony concluded with a tour that showcased pictures of former personnel of 12 Squadron and 52 Squadron and memorial parts of the aircraft, followed by a group photo session with the aircraft and personnel.