Last week, Brunei’s new air force chief made an introductory trip to Singapore.
Commander of Royal Brunei Air Force (RBAirF) Colonel Shahril Anwar bin Haji Ma’awiah visited the city-state from May 4 to 6. Shahril had been confirmed as the air force chief of the tiny-oil rich sultanate in a change of command ceremony on September 26, 2015 at the headquarters of the RBAirF at Rimba Air Base.
During the visit, Shahril called on Singapore defense officials including Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen, Chief of Defense Force Major-General Perry Lim, and Air Force Brigadier-General Mervyn Tan.
As part of his trip there, he also inspected a Guard of Honor at Singapore’s Ministry of Defense (MINDEF) and visited the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) 123 Squadron.
Shahril’s visit came as the armed forces of the two countries were in the midst of co-hosting a military exercise under the banner of the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus), which groups ten ASEAN states along with Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea and the United States. As I had written previously, Singapore and Brunei are leading a Maritime Security and Counterterrorism Field Training Exercise (MS & CT FTX) which features approximately 3,000 personnel, 18 ships, 17 helicopters, two maritime patrol aircraft and Special Force and runs until May 12 (See: “Singapore, Brunei to Host Multilateral Military Exercise in May”).
In a press release seen by The Diplomat, MINDEF said that Shahril’s visit “underscores the close and long-standing defense relationship” between the two countries. The two air forces interact through a range of activities including professional exchanges and bilateral exercises. Exercise Airguard, the main air force exercise between the RBAirF and the RSAF, has been occurring since 1994.
“These interactions have strengthened the mutual understanding and friendship between the personnel of both air forces,” MINDEF added in the press release.