Royal Brunei Land Forces

Tentera Darat Diraja Brunei

Coat of Arms of the Royal Brunei Land Forces
Active 31 May 1961-
Country Brunei
Branch Army
Role 1st Battalion - Light Role
2nd Battalion - Light Role
3rd Battalion - Light Role
Support Battalion - Armoured/Engineers
Size 3,000
Part of Royal Brunei Armed Forces
Garrison/HQ 1st Battalion - Berakas
2nd Battalion - Tutong
3rd Battalion - Penanjong
Support Battalion - Penanjong
Brigadier General Pg Dato Aminan Pg Hj Mahmud

The Royal Brunei Land Forces (Malay: Tentera Darat Diraja Brunei, abbreviated TDDB) is the land component of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces. The RBLF has responsibility for maintaining the territorial defence of Brunei, both from attack from outsiders,[1] and by assisting the Royal Brunei Police in maintaining law and order.[2]


The Royal Brunei Land Forces was formed in May 1961 with the formation of the Brunei Malay Regiment, when the first intake of 60 recruits began training. The formal foundation of the regiment occurred in June 1962 when men of the first three intakes were formed into the regimental headquarters and three rifle companies.[3] In 1965, the regiment received the royal prefix, becoming the Royal Brunei Malay Regiment. Initially stationed at Port Dickson in Malaya, the regiment was soon moved to a purpose built barracks in Brunei itself. The Royal Brunei Malay Regiment established two new units, the Boat Section and the Air Service in 1965 to increase its capabilities further. These two units, together with the infantry, were amalgamated into a single task force in 1966.[4]

In 1972, the regiment's structure was changed, with the infantry, aviation and naval sections split into separate units once again. The infantry companies became the 1st Battalion, Royal Brunei Malay Regiment, with a total of five rifle companies. Three years later, the 2nd Battalion, Royal Brunei Malay Regiment was formed by deamalgamating B and E Companies of the 1st Battalion.[4]

In 1984, Brunei achieved full independence from the United Kingdom. At that time, the Royal Brunei Malay Regiment was renamed as the Royal Brunei Land Forces, part of the wider Royal Brunei Armed Forces. In 1990, the Support Battalion was formed comprising an armoured reconnaissance squadron, air defence battery and combat engineer squadron, together with maintenance and administrative support. In 1994, the 3rd Battalion, Royal Brunei Land Forces was formed from members of D Company, 1st Battalion RBLF and F Company, 2nd Battalion RBLF, while the air defence battery and engineering workshop were transferred from the Support Battalion to the Royal Brunei Air Force and the Support Service respectively.[5]


Bruneian soldiers during the CARAT 2010 exercise

The Royal Brunei Land Forces (RBLF) is under the command of Brigadier General Dato Seri Pahlawan Hj Yussof.[6]

The Royal Brunei Land Forces is organised as four separate battalions:[7]

First Battalion

The First Battalion was established in 1962; the organisation consisted of the first three intakes undertaking basic military training. At the beginning, the organisation was set up in Segenting Camp, Port Dickson, Malaysia. After the development of Berakas Garrison in 1975, the organisation was then changed to the First Battalion Land Force. Under the command of Colonel J. F. Davis, the force consisted of the various departments, including Markas Company, and five Rifle Companies (A, B, C, D and E).[8]

Second Battalion

The Second Battalion was formed on 2 January 1975 at the Bolkiah Garrison. Before this, the Battalion was comprised Company B and E of the First Battalion under the command of the then Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel A.E. Hibbert. The battalion moved to Tutong Camp on 10 May 1976. Following the formation of the Second Battalion, Pengiran Ratna Indera Lieutenant Colonel Pengiran Dato Setia Ibnu bin Pengiran Datu Penghulu Pengiran Haji Apong was then appointed as the commanding officer in charge.[9]

Third Battalion

The Third Battalion was formed and established on 31 May 1994. The battalion was made up of D Company from the First Battalion and F Company of the Second Battalion and the Command Company from the First and Second Battalion. Major Shahlan bin Hidup was the first appointed Commanding Officer in charge of the Battalion. Previously based in Penanjong Garrison,[10] as of 21 June 2007, the Battalion has relocated to a new camp at Lumut in the Belait District.[11]

Support Battalion

The Support Unit was originally established based on five major units; namely an Armoured Reconnaissance Squadron, a Combat Engineer Squadron, an Air Defence Battery, the Penanjong Workshop and Penanjong Garrison Headquarters. It was reorganised on 2 January 1990, and officially established as the Support Battalion, which comprises three major units; namely, an Armoured Reconnaissance Squadron, a Combat Engineer Squadron and the Company Headquarters Support Battalion.[12]


The RBLF uses a mix of imported equipment from various suppliers (mainly British, but French, German, Russian, Indonesian and Ukrainian as well).

Infantry Weapons

Photo Model Type Calibre Origin Notes
Browning HP Pistol 9×19mm Parabellum  Belgium
Assault rifles
M16A1/A2/A4 Assault rifle 5.56×45mm NATO  US Standard infantry rifle.
SAR 21 Assault rifle 5.56×45mm NATO  Singapore
Pindad SS2 Assault rifle 5.56×45mm NATO  Indonesia
Semi-automatic rifles
L1A1 Self-Loading Rifle Semi-automatic rifle 7.62x51mm  UK
Machine guns
Ultimax 100 Light machine gun 5.56×45mm NATO  Singapore
FN MAG-58 General purpose machine gun 7.62×51mm NATO  Belgium
M2 Browning machine gun Heavy machine gun .50 BMG  US

Grenades, Rockets and MANPADS

Photo Model Type Quantity Origin Notes
Grenade launchers
M203 grenade launcher Underbarrel grenade launcher  US
Armbrust Anti-tank rocket launcher  Germany [13]

Armoured fighting vehicles

Photo Model Type Quantity Origin Notes
FV101 Scorpion CVR(T) Light tank 16  UK 16 upgraded as at 2003[13]
Armoured Vehicles
VAB Armoured personnel carrier 45  France [13]
Anoa Armoured personnel carrier 42  Indonesia 15 ordered in September 2011, 35 planned.[14][15]
Support Vehicles
FV105 Sultan Armoured command vehicle 2  UK
FV106 Samson Armoured recovery vehicle 2  UK [13]


Photo Model Type Quantity Origin Notes
L118 105 mm towed howitzer 6  UK [16]
L16 Mortar 81 mm mortar 24  UK [13]

Utility and logistical vehicles

Photo Model Type Quantity Origin Notes
Utility vehicles
Land Rover Defender Military light utility vehicle Unknown  UK
Logistical vehicles
Mercedes Benz Actros Tractor Unit Unknown  Germany
Iveco Eurocargo Truck Unknown  Italy

Future Equipment

There are reports that Brunei is or was interested in Indonesian APC's to replace the VAB APC[17]

Brunei has also shown interest in Russian equipment including:[18][19]

International Ties

United Kingdom

The Royal Brunei Land Forces has significant ties to the British Army, due in no small part to the fact that there is a permanent British garrison in Brunei. Following the Brunei Revolt in 1962, an agreement was signed between Brunei and the United Kingdom that a battalion of Gurkhas would be stationed in the country to protect various British interests, most notably the major oil installations at Seria. The current garrison consists of a battalion of the Royal Gurkha Rifles, plus a flight of helicopters from the Army Air Corps in support. However, Brunei is also used by the British Army in general for training in jungle warfare. The presence of one of the British Army's few significant overseas garrisons provides an opportunity to assist the RBLF in its training.

Other Nations

The RBLF maintains close ties with many other nations, both in the South-East Asia region and elsewhere. The RBLF conducts exercises with the Malaysian Army[20] and the Singapore Army[21] on a regular basis. The RBLF has also conducted regular exercises with the armies of both Australia, China, New Zealand, Philippines and Thailand,[22] while the United States Marine Corps conducts annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) in Brunei.[23]



  1. Roles Page 1 Royal Brunei Land Forces - Retrieved 23 April 2007
  2. Roles Page 3 Royal Brunei Land Forces - Retrieved 23 April 2007
  3. History Page 1 Royal Brunei Land Forces - Retrieved 23 April 2007
  4. 1 2 History Page 2 Royal Brunei Land Forces - Retrieved 23 April 2007
  5. History Page 5 Royal Brunei Land Forces - Retrieved 23 April 2007
  6. Commander Royal Brunei Land Forces
  7. Page 1 Organisation Royal Brunei Land Force - Retrieved 23 April 2007
  8. Page 2 Organisation Royal Brunei Land Force - Retrieved 23 April 2007
  9. Page 3 Organisation Royal Brunei Land Force - Retrieved 23 April 2007
  10. Page 4 Organisation Royal Brunei Land Force - Retrieved 23 April 2007
  11. New Lumut Camp Celebrates Nisfu Syaaban - Retrieved 18 February 2009
  12. Page 5 Organisation Royal Brunei Land Force - Retrieved 23 April 2007
  13. 1 2 3 4 5 IISS (2012), p. 231
  14. "Armed forces of Brunei to purchase Indonesian made wheeled armoured vehicle APC Pindad 0309111 – Army Recognition". 2011-09-03. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
  15. Quratul-Ain Bandial (2011-09-04). "Brunei to purchase from Indonesia". The Brunei Times. Retrieved 2013-06-09.
  17. "Brunei to purchase RI-made APCs".
  20. Bilateral Page 2 - Retrieved 23 April 2007
  21. Bilateral Page 3 - Retrieved 23 April 2007
  22. Bilateral Page 1 - Retrieved 23 April 2007
  23. Bilateral Page 8 - Retrieved 23 April 2007
Works cited
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