BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei - The 4th biennial Brunei Darussalam International Defense Exhibition and Conference welcomed the public to view the U.S and other international military aircraft static display Dec. 4-6 at Rimba Air Base in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei.
The displays and demonstrations at BRIDEX 13 allow U.S. and other nation’s military officials and companies to showcase U.S. defense equipment and capabilities across land, sea, air and security spectrums.
“It’s good for (the Marine Corps) to participate in the airshow because it allows us to demonstrate the capabilities and versatilities of the MV-22B Osprey,” said Maj. David M. Sherman, an Osprey pilot with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 262, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “Most parts of this world haven’t seen the aircraft before, so this enables us to spread our message and demonstrate the aircraft.”
BRIDEX offers an international forum for the development of continued support for friends and allies around the world, the building of security partnerships, and the furthering of cooperative engagement between the U.S. and Brunei.
“By flying VIPs, our partner nation military leaders and media we’re able to make a greater influence in the region,” said Shearman, who flew three demonstration flights. “So it’s good that the media can get our story out. They show what the aircraft’s capable of doing and how we can assist in the region.”
The demonstration flights consisted of rolling takeoff in conversion mode, and climb up to altitude, according to Shearman. Then the aircraft did a spiral approach down into a Brunei drop zone, were it landed and then took off in helicopter mode. During the flights, the aircraft turns created about 2.5 G’s, which many of the passengers had never experienced before.
The Osprey was the only U.S. aircraft to fly VIPs participating in BRIDEX and local media; however, a U.S. Marine KC-130J Super Hercules and a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III were on display for visitors to tour.
“Today is an exciting day for the boys to see an aircraft they see in movies, like Transformers,” said Zakaria Mohaamadnor, a teacher at Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin College Air Scout, which is where Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan of Brunei, went when he was young. “They’re actually going in and touching (an Osprey) and learning more about this new generation of a two-in-one aircraft. So it’s a big thing for them.”
Allowing the public to visit the static aircraft display is also crucial to build new bonds. The Marines spent hours meeting thousands of community members, taking time for group photos, and answering many questions.
“The public can see that we’re active in this region,” said Shearman. “They also get to meet the Marines on an individual level, instead of seeing us on the news or something.”
As BRIDEX 13 comes to an end, many participants leave knowing that this biennial event continues to be important for all involved and has developed long lasting relationships.
“We’d like to thank the U.S. Marines and the people that are giving us this educational information,” said Mohaamadnor. “I’m sure this is something that many have never had a chance like before.”