The Royal Brunei Armed Forces is evaluating more than a dozen proposals for maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) as part of a long-running competition that could end in the second half of this year.

Brunei has not issued a formal tender for its long-standing MPA requirement, but over the last year has invited several manufacturers to suggest possible solutions. Manufacturers anticipate an order for three to four aircraft within the next four to 12 months. The aircraft will support Brunei's three new offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), now undergoing sea trials, and help guard its exclusive economic zone.

Brunei has accepted proposals for a wide range of platforms, including aircraft as small as Britten-Norman Islanders and Reims Caravan IIs and as large as ATR 42s, Bombardier Dash 8s, EADS Casa 295s and Lockheed Martin C-130Js. Brunei has hosted presentations on various proposals to equip Raytheon Beechcraft 1900Ds and King Air 350s.

Raytheon and Hawker Pacific have teamed up to offer a maritime patrol variant of the King Air 350. Aeropearl of Australia has teamed up with one of its owners, Aerodata of Belgium, to offer a non-Raytheon-endorsed King Air solution. There is also at least one independent Australian proposal to equip a 1900D.

Budget constraints had forced Brunei to delay the MPA procurement and consider leasing aircraft. It is now believed Brunei has allocated enough money to directly purchase the aircraft.

The armed forces, however, have again been forced to delay the procurement of helicopters to support the new OPVs until the fixed wing procurement is complete.

Source: Flight International