Solomon Islands Government

Operator Profile

History

Narrative Summary

Since independence, the Solomon Islands has not had any regular military forces. The principal local security force is the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF), which has two patrol boats but no aircraft.

In 1997 the United States Government donated two civilianised ex-military Cessna O-2 aircraft and a helicopter to the Solomons Islands, for use by the government and police force. Unfortunately, no funding was provided for operating these aircraft, and so they remained in their delivery containers. After a while they became subject to vandalism and weather damage. Another aircraft was reportedly donated in 1999, but there is little confirmation of this.

In the period 2003-2013 the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) provided military and police support to the Solomon Islands government. The donated aircraft are now too badly damaged to be useable. They were still visible in open storage in April 2010.

Key Dates

1997 First aircraft donated by USA.
1999 One additional aircraft donated by USA.

Current Status

There is still no government Air Wing.

Future Plans

No plans known. With the withdrawal of RAMSI, plans for a government air wing may be revived.


Markings

National Insignia

The donated aircraft never operated in Solomon Islands markings.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

No Solomon Island registrations were allocated to the donated aircraft – they remained in their US delivery markings.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used.


Aircraft

Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory

Not applicable.

All-Time Aircraft Used List

Aircraft Type Quantity Service Entry Out of Service Origin
Cessna O-2A 2 1997 n/a USA
Champon 7GC Citabria 1 1999 n/a USA
Hughes 500 1 1997 n/a USA

Aircraft NOT Used

None of the aircraft donated so far have been taken into service.

Aircraft Losses and Incidents

Not applicable.

Organisation

Main Headquarters

Not applicable – no air wing established.

Organisational Structure

No subordinate units.

Current Unit Assignments

No subordinate units.

Historical Unit Assignments

Not applicable.

All-Time Flying Units List

Not applicable.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

Not applicable.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

The aircraft and helicopter were initially stored at Rove, but later moved to Honiara Airport.


More Information

Books

None known.

Magazines

To be added

Websites

PO Prune“>

Any photographs illustrating this operator would be welcome.

 

Champion 7GC Citabria

in Solomon Islands Government Service

History

One (Bellanca-built) Champion 7GC Citabria delivered in 1999. Not used and immediately placed into storage. There does not seem to be much corroboration for this report. Any further information is welcome.


Individual Details

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
? ? ? 1999  


Pictures

None at present.

More Information

References

  • World Air Forces Directory 2013/14 (Mach III)

Other Sources

To be added.

Cessna O-2A

in Solomon Islands Government Service

History

Two ex-USAF Cessna O-2As delivered in December 1997 as US Government aid. Never taken from their delivery containers. Stored on the edge of the football field/parade ground at Rove in Honiara. They were subject to vandalism and weather damage. In 2008 they were both transferred to the Civil Aviation Department and moved to the Solair hangar at Honiara Airport, where some restoration work was initiated. This work soon stopped and the wrecks abandoned. They were still there in April 2010.

Individual Details

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
n/a 337M-0164 68-6875, N5151U Dec 1997 O-2A, stored Honiara Apr 2010
n/a 337M-0170 68-6881, N6881Z Dec 1997 O-2A, stored Honiara Apr 2010


Pictures

None at present.

More Information

References

Other Sources

To be added.

Hughes 500

in Solomon Islands Government Service

History

One ex-USAF Hughes OH-6A delivered in December 1997 as US Government aid. Never taken from its delivery container. Stored on the edge of the football field/parade ground at Rove in Honiara. Still there in April 2014.


Individual Details

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
n/a 0969 67-16584, N220CM Dec 1997 OH-6A, stored Honiara Apr 2010-Apr 2014


Pictures

None at present.

More Information

References

Other Sources

To be added.

Boeing 707-331
in Republic of Fiji Military Forces service

History

One Boeing 707-331 obtained on lease from Aeroamerica. Used to transport Fijian United Nations peacekeeping forces to Lebanon. Diverted to Kuala Lumpur Airport on 3 October 1979 with engine trouble and parked. Subsequently impounded by Malaysian Civil Aviation Department. The aircraft operated in Pakistan International Airlines colours, with small Royal Fiji Military Forces titles near the front passenger door.


Individual Details

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
N705PA 17686 N705PA Aug 1979 wfu 3 Oct 1979 after engine fault


Pictures

None at present.

More Information

References

Other Sources

To be added.

Republic of Fiji Military Forces

Operator Profile

History

Narrative Summary

The Fiji Defence Force (FDF) was first established in 1920, under New Zealand admnistration. After World War Two spread to the Pacific region, the United States trained Fijian soldiers. In 1942 the FDF became known as the Fiji Military Forces (FMF). Units of the FMF subsequently saw action in the Solomon Islands campaign and served with great distinction.

Fiji gained independence in 1970 but the FMF remained a land-based force. In 1973 the prefix ‘Royal’ was granted by the Queen, changing the title to Royal Fiji Military Forces (RFMF). In 1975 a Fijian Navy was established. Fijian troops contributed significantly to the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon – UNIFIL – from 1978 onwards. A civilian Boeing 707 was leased in August 1979 to transport troops to Lebanon from Fiji. It operated with Royal Fiji Military Forces titles, but had to be withdrawn from use after a couple of months due to engine trouble.

In 1987 a second military coup by the RFMF deposed the existing government. A republic was declared and the country was expelled from the Commonwealth. The name was changed to Republic of Fiji Military Forces, retaining the same acronym RFMF.

An Air Wing for the RFMF was established in 1987, with the promise of the donation of two helicopters from France. The first helicopter arrived in Fiji late the following year. The RFMF Air Wing was often simply called the Fiji Air Wing. Both helicopters were ill-used and one was lost to a in-flight fire in 1994. The surviving helicopter was sold at the end of 1997 and the Air Wing disbanded.

In 1997, Fiji was able to return to the Commonwealth and the ‘R’ was dropped altogether from RFMF, the armed forces simply being called the Fiji Military Forces. However, in the continuing political turmoil since 1997, it seems that at some date the armed forces again readopted the title Republic of Fiji Military Forces.

Key Dates

1920 Fiji Defence Force first established.
1942 FDF renamed Fiji Military Forces.
1973 FMF renamed Royal Fiji Military Forces.
1987 Fiji Air Wing formally established.
late 1987 RFMF renamed Republic of Fiji Military Forces.
Dec 1988 First RFMF helicopter arrives.
1997 Air Wing disbanded.
1997 RFMF renamed Fiji Military Forces.
?? FMF renamed Republic of Fiji Military Forces.

Current Status

The Air Wing was disbanded in 1997.

Future Plans

No plans known.


Markings

National Insignia

RFMF aircraft are reported to have carried the national flag as a fin flash. It not known if any service titles were carried.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

Aircraft operating with the RFMF carried Fijian civil registrations in the DQ-FGx range reserved for government aircraft, e.g. Ecureuil 2 DQ-FGH.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used.


Aircraft

Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory

Not applicable.

All-Time Aircraft Used List

Aircraft Type Quantity Service Entry Out of Service Origin
Aerospatiale AS.355F-2 Ecureuil 2 1 1988 1997 France
Aerospatiale AS 365N2 Dauphin 1 1992 1994 France
Boeing 707-331 1 1979 1979 leased

Aircraft NOT Used

Several websites mention the use of a “Harbin Y-11” by Republic of Fiji Military Forces. The Y-11 was never used outside of China. These reports probably arise from confusion the the Y-12s operated by Air Fiji. Air Fiji ceased operations in 2009.

Aircraft Losses and Incidents

See individual aircraft types.

Organisation

Main Headquarters

Republic of Fiji Military Forces, Strategic Command, Maddocks Road, Suva City, Fiji.

Organisational Structure

No subordinate units.

Current Unit Assignments

No subordinate units.

Historical Unit Assignments

Not applicable.

All-Time Flying Units List

Not applicable.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

Not applicable.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

The helicopters were based at Nausori International Airport, Suva.


More Information

Books

None known.

Magazines

To be added

Websites

wikipedia: Republic of Fiji Military Forces
RFMF Official website

Any photographs illustrating this operator would be welcome.

 

Aerospatiale AS 365N2 Dauphin
in Republic of Fiji Military Forces service

History

One AS 365N2 Dauphin 2 supplied by France as military aid in March 1992, (some sources say in 1989). Used for Transport and Liaison duties. Caught fire off the coast of Fiji in July 1994 and crashed – fortunately with no loss of life.


Individual Details

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
DQ-FGD 6427 F-WTNP Mar 1992 w/o 10 July 1994, reg’n canx Oct 1994


Pictures

None at present.

More Information

References

Other Sources

To be added.

Aerospatiale AS 355F-2 Ecureuil 2
in Republic of Fiji Military Forces service

History

One AS 355F-2 Ecureuil 2 supplied by France as military aid in December 1988, (some sources say in 1991). Used for Transport and Liaison duties. Leased out to commercial use from Jun 1997 and then sold abroad Dec 1997.


Individual Details

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
DQ-FGH 5378 F-WYMT Dec 1988 wfu Jun 1997, to F-GTVE Dec 1997


Pictures


Ecureuil 2 DQ-FGH (photo, Phil Hawks via Greg Kozak)


More Information

References

Other Sources

To be added.

MBB BK 117

in Emergency Helicopter Services Fiji Use

History

One Japanese-built BK 117A-4 obtained under contract from HELiPRO Fiji. Shipped from Auckland in July 2012, and had arrived in Fiji and been test flown by 1 OCtober 2012. It entered service with EHS Fiji in early December 2012. Used for EMS and Search & Rescue duties.


Individual Details

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
ZK-HYO 1016 JA9699 Dec 2012  


Pictures

None at present.

More Information

References

Other Sources

To be added.

Emergency Helicopter Services Fiji

Operator Profile

History

Narrative Summary

Emergency Helicopter Services Fiji was first established in 2012, established to provide the Fijian and tourist population with a professional Medevac and Search & Rescue service. The helicopter began operations in early December 2012.

Key Dates

2012 Emergency Helicopter Services Ltd first established.
December 2012 First helicopter delivered – MBB BK117.
11 November 2014 Contractor HELiPRO is closed down.

Current Status

EHS Fiji appears to be still operating, despite the fact that contracted helicopter operator HELiPRO went into receivership in November 2014 and has now closed down its entire New Zealand operation.

Future Plans

No plans known. A new helicopter operator to replace HELiPRO is likely to be required.


Markings

Special Markings

The EHS Fiji helicopter operates in the standard overall red colour scheme of HELiPRO.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

The EHS Fiji helicopter currently operates in Fiji under its New Zealand registration. It is not clear if it will be issued with a new DQ-registration eventually.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used.


Aircraft

Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory

Aircraft Type Total Del’d Total Active Still on Order Role
MBB BK 117 1 1 0 EMS/Search & Rescue

All-Time Aircraft Used List

Aircraft Type Quantity Service Entry Out of Service Origin
MBB BK 117 1 2012 current contractor

Aircraft NOT Used

No false reports known.

Aircraft Losses and Incidents

None known.

Organisation

Main Headquarters

Emergency Helicopter Services Ltd, Suva, Fiji.

Organisational Structure

No subordinate units.

Current Unit Assignments

No subordinate units.

Historical Unit Assignments

Not applicable.

All-Time Flying Units List

Not applicable.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

The helicopter is based at Suva Airport.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

As above.


More Information

Books

None known.

Magazines

To be added

Websites

  • Facebook: Emergency Helicopter Services Fiji
  • Emergency Helicopter Services
  • The Fiji Times Online
    Any photographs illustrating this operator would be welcome.