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Bristow Defence Industries Celebrates 20 Years of Operations

September 06, 2018

Bristow Defence Industries (BDI) was established in 1998, primarily to support the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Maintenance Contract at Oakey, Queensland, Australia. This partnership has remained strong through the years, and BDI will be assisting the RSAF to phase out its fleet of AS332M/M1 Super Puma helicopters at Oakey at the end of this current contract on March 31, 2019.

BDI started with a core team of dedicated individuals to understand and take on board the RSAF's airworthiness system and learn to operate under their maintenance requirements. This was a challenging process as it differed from the traditional, Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) focused operations practiced in Australia. The team not only learned quickly, but also embarked on training a full crew of more than 75 personnel to operate the "RSAF way." From this small team supporting ramp operations and logistics support, BDI gradually took over deep maintenance servicing and finally rectification capabilities. BDI was awarded full commercialization contract of RSAF's 12 Super Pumas at Oakey in 2008.

While the RSAF eventually reduced its fleet from 12 to six aircraft over the next few years, BDI continued to be its preferred service provider, and was awarded three separate contracts over the 20-year period. Some key milestones during this 20-year period include:

  • Employing more than 280 individuals at BDI, many of whom stayed beyond five years. Since 2014, up to 70 percent of BDI staff have stayed for five years or longer. Four employees have stayed with BDI throughout this whole journey. Special mention to Vaughn Whittingham, David Norgate, Garry Plotecki and Shirley Robinson for their commitment to BDI throughout this 20-year journey.
  • BDI has employed 52 apprentices since 2000, and successfully graduated 46. This 77 percent completion rate sits well above the national average of 47 percent. Many of these apprentices have gone on to become valued members within Bristow Helicopter Australia's workforce or opted to stay on with BDI. A number of them hold middle management positions at BDI today.
  • Successfully completing seven G checks, more than 70 A/T checks (major service) and thousands of minor scheduled services.
  • With BDI's support, the RSAF has flown more than 35,000 flying hours through its fleet at Oakey.
  • Assistance to the RSAF in graduating/qualifying more than 150 pilots. The majority of the RSAF's Super Puma pilots have come through the doors at Oakey and have experienced the professional support provided by BDI. A few of these pilots have also returned to become detachment commanders at Oakey.
  • Participated in 19 successive years of off-base deployments at Rockhampton and Shoal Water Bay Training Area, in support of the Singapore Armed Forces largest overseas Tri-Service (Air Force, Army & Navy) exercise – Exercise Wallaby. BDI will be participating in its 20th exercise this year from September to November.
  • The proud distinction of being the RSAF's longest serving foreign contractor.

Today as BDI sees the phasing out of the Super Puma Contract at Oakey, BDI looks forward to further partnerships with the RSAF. With the arrival of the RSAF's five CH47D helicopters in-country, BDI tendered for and was successfully awarded the CH47D ancillary support contract, which commenced on July 30, 2018. With this contract, BDI will continue working with the RSAF for a further three years.

"With continued professional support, BDI looks forward to the opportunity to make a further bid for the RSAF's CH47F maintenance contract once released," said Acting Chief Operations Manager Ravin Ramasamy.

"BDI has an excellent team at Oakey," said Ravin. "Over the years, we have developed a strong partnership with our RSAF counterparts, and together we have made the RSAF's deployment of its Super Puma fleet to Oakey, Australia, a very safe and successful one."

"Sincere congratulations to the team at Oakey," said Ravin. "Thank you for your strong support and professional services to our client and Bristow."