Philippine Air Force (PAF) pilots are undergoing an intensive flight training in Brunei to enhance their skills in utilizing the S70-i Blackhawk combat utility helicopter.
The PAF said Friday, Sept. 9, that the training began in August and will last until Nov. 19 in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam. The participants were using the S-70i Blackhawk Full Motion Flight Simulator of the Canadian Aviation Electronics (CAE).
The training includes 27 Filipino pilots who were divided into 14 batches for the duration of the three-month training.
“[The] said training is a vital tool to pilot proficiency enhancement as it provides a cost-effective platform for pilots to practice various types of flight conditions, practice in-flight emergencies, fly in complex scenarios, and practice crew resource management,” the PAF said.
This was not the first time that the PAF sent Filipino pilots to Brunei for a Blackhawk training. Last year, 11 PAF pilots also flew to Brunei for the same type of flight proficiency training.
Such training is crucial in boosting the PAF pilots’ proficiency in handling the S-70i Blackhawk especially after the Department of National Defense (DND) procured 16 units of Blackhawks from Polish aerospace manufacturer PZL Mielec for P11.5 billion. These were delivered to the PAF from 2020 to 2021.
Last Feb. 22, the DND also signed a P32-billion contract for the acquisition of 32 additional Blackhawk helicopters. The first batch consisting of five units will be delivered in 2023, 10 units in 2024, 10 units in 2025, and seven units in 2026.
Blackhawks can be rapidly configured and deployed to perform various military and humanitarian missions, making it one of the most dependable aircraft in the PAF’s fleet.