RBAF fete set to wow people

Chairman of the RBAF 51st Anniversary celebration, Col (L) HJ Aznan Hj Julaihi (L) speaking during the poster distribution ceremony in Muara. Picture: BT/Zamri Zainal

THE upcoming celebrations for the 51st anniversary of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) will feature ships from the Royal Brunei Navy (RBN) for the first time.

Colonel (L) Hj Aznan Hj Julaihi, chairman of the celebrations committee for the 51st anniversary of the RBAF, told The Brunei Times yesterday at the RBN headquarters in Muara, that members of the public will be able to go on board and witness demonstrations of the naval vessels.

"This anniversary will be different than the usual. The public can expect to see the ships at sea and all the new ships in harbour," he said.

Among the highlights of the celebrations are the three Darussalam Class offshore patrol vessels that were commissioned last year.

The Darussalam Class ships are 80-metre long and 13-metre wide, and equipped with surface-to-surface missile and medium-calibre gun.

The 41-metre Ijtihad Class fast patrol boats as well as the Mustaed Class fast interceptor boat will also be featured in the celebrations.

To be held on May 31 and June 1 at the RBN headquarters in Muara, the upcoming celebrations will also include a water arena, whereby the public will be feted to a 45-minute continuous seaborne demonstration twice daily.

Hundreds of people are expected to visit the RBN headquarters during the two-day celebrations, which will also consist of family fun fairs and static displays of military vehicles.

According to the chairman, the previous water arena was conducted in 2006 during the celebrations for the 45th anniversary of the RBAF. He anticipates that the revival of the water arena for the upcoming celebrations will "wow" the crowd.

"It's a force action pact demonstration on water. There will also be an aerobatic show, parachute demonstration, fast assault and airboat shows," he said.

Colonel (L) Hj Aznan added that the celebrations will also feature a maritime mock operation, whereby the public will be given the opportunity to witness the pursuit of a hostile unit at sea involving a military aircraft.

Similar to previous years, the celebrations on May 31 will start with a mass parade comprising personnel from the three services of the RBAF at the new parade ground at the RBN headquarters.

"Meanwhile, games and stalls will also be organised. All of this is intended to encourage the involvement and participation of family members, particularly parents and children, whether military or civilian. This is a unique and significant aspiration," he remarked.

The chairman commented that the celebrations will be an opportunity for the public to look at the new assets of the RBAF, particularly the new military vessels from the RBN.

In the run up to the upcoming celebrations, RBAF personnel have also conducted a range of religious and community service activities throughout the country, such as blood donation drives and mosque cleaning campaigns.

"This will foster understanding and confidence among the nation about the preparation of the RBAF as an institution that is dynamic, relevant and competent," he said. The Brunei Times

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