Philippine Air Force (PAF) pilots have commenced S-70i Black Hawk flight simulator training in Brunei to learn how to use and maintain the country’s new helicopters.

The training was launched at the Canadian Aviation Electronics (CAE) Brunei Multi-Purpose Training Centre (BMPTC).

Philippine Embassy Chargé d’Affaires (CDA) Minister Pete Raymond V Delfin said: “The Philippine Government conveys its deepest appreciation to His Majesty the Sultan and the Ministry of Defence of Brunei Darussalam for its continuing active engagement and valuable contribution to the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“This is a milestone in our bilateral defence relations with Brunei. Notwithstanding the strong and dynamic defence cooperation between our countries, the programme represents a practical option for S-70i Black Hawk training as PAF pilots need not proceed outside the ASEAN region.

“It opens up more opportunities for PAF pilots and allows greater interaction and exchanges between our armed forces.”

Earlier this year, an agreement was signed between the PAF and the Royal Brunei Air Force (RBAirF).

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It is part of a bilateral memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Defense Cooperation signed in 2001.

The Flight Simulator Training will be completed in six batches and run until 27 December.

Last month, the first batch of PAF pilots arrived at Brunei from Manila to undergo the training.

Royal Brunei Air Force commander brigadier general Dato Seri Pahlawan Mohd Sharif bin Dato Paduka Haji Ibrahim said: “The Royal Brunei Air Force will continue to be a strong partner of the Philippine Air Force in its quest for the continued modernisation of its air Service, in the future we would be willing to welcome your pilots, as well as other personnel involved in the operation of the S-70i Black Hawk aircraft for collaborative efforts in sharing our experiences with the said aircraft.”

This June, Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana reportedly ordered the grounding of the PAF fleet of Black Hawk helicopters following a crash that took place during a night-flying exercise in a province north of Manila.