Bangladesh Air Force
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The Bangladesh Air Force (Bengali: বাংলাদেশ বিমান বাহিনী, Bangladesh Biman Bahini, reporting name: BAF), is the aerial warfare branch of the Bangladesh Armed Forces, primarily tasked with an aerial defence of Bangladesh with a role of providing air support to Bangladesh Army and Navy. The Bangladesh Air Force, being the first line of defence for Bangladesh employs around 16,000 full-time personnel, including 3,500 pilots and currently operates around 97 aircraft.[self-published source] Bangladesh Air Force has a territorial role of providing strategic air transport and logistics capability to Bangladesh. Bangladesh Air Force has been part of major operations such as Operation Desert Storm, Gulf War, and Chittagong Hill Tracts operation. the BAF has been an active participant in United Nations peacekeeping missions. In Defense IQ 2011 International Fighter Aircraft Conference in London, the Air Force revealed their long-term advancement and procurement plan to induct seven squadron fighter jet by 2021.
Since its establishment on 21 September 1971, the Air Force has been involved in various combat and humanitarian operations. According to the Constitution of Bangladesh, President of Bangladesh act as the civilian Commander-in-chief, and Chief of Air Staff (COAS), by statute a four-star air officer (Air Chief Marshal), commands the Air Force. The Bangladesh Air Force is currently commanded by Air Chief Marshal Abu Esrar,BBP,ndc,acsc.
The Bangladesh Air Force was established in 1971 with 300 personnel from Pakistan Air Force.
- 1 History
- 2 List of the Chiefs of Air Staff, Bangladesh Air Force
- 3 Organisational structure
- 4 Ranks
- 5 Branches (officer)
- 6 Trades (Airmen)
- 7 Installations
- 8 Aircraft
- 9 Guided weapons
- 10 Future modernisation programme
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 External links
The Bangladesh Air Force was officially formed at the Sector Commanders Conference during its independence war from Pakistan in 1971. Its official date of formation has been established as 28 September 1971 and it was launched formally by the Government on 8 October 1971. Out of 11 BDF Sectors, the most tactically significant sector, the Central Sector - Sector 11, was in command of a BAF officer including Sector 6. A significant number of BAF personnel participated in the Bangladesh War of Independence. Initially, BAF was formed with all officers and airmen of Bengali origin serving in the Pakistan Air Force prior to the war. At that time, the embryo of Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) was formed with less than a hundred officers and a quite good number of airmen and warrant officers. During the independence war, officers of the BAF attached to the Z-Force were then BD Gov't Representative to Chakulia Guerilla Trng. Camp Squadron Leader M. Hamidullah Khan, later Sub-Sector Commander and as Commander-Sector 11, Flight Lieutenant Liaqat as Battalion Adjutant, Flying Officer Rouf, Flying Officer Ashraf and Flight Sergeant Shafiqullah as company commanders. Squadron Leader Sadruddin Hossain, Squadron Leader Wahidur Rahim, Squadron Leader Nurul Qader, Squadron Leader Shamsur Rahman and Air Commodore Ataur Rahman as sub sector company commanders. Squadron Leader Khademul Bashar participated in the war as Commander-Sector 6.
Bangladesh Air Force was organised in India with the initiative of Squadron Leader Sultan Mahmud (Ex-PAF Pilot), Captain Shahabuddin Ahmed (Ex-PIA Pilot), Captain Akram Ahmed (Ex-Plant protection Pilot) and Captain Sattar (ex-PIA Pilot) and Captain Sarfuddin (Ex-PIA Pilot). Later many Bangladeshi ex-PAF Officers joined in Bangladesh Air Force in India. Finally, Bangladesh Air Force was formed in late July 1971. Indian Air Force trained these Officers July 1971 through November 1971 as fighter pilots. Bangladesh Air Force first went in action on 3 December 1971 and attacked the Chittagong-based Oil tank depot and oil tank depot was totally destroyed by that air attack. The Air attack was conducted by Capt. Akram Ahmed. The second Bangladesh Air Force attack was on 6 December 1971 at Moulovi Bazar Pakitani Army barracks under the command of Squadron Leader Sultan Mahmud, where Captain Shahabuddin Ahmed was co-pilot.
Indian civilian authorities and the IAF donated 1 DC-3 Dakota (gifted by the Maharaja of Jodhpor), 1 Twin Otter plane, and 1 Alouette III helicopter for the newborn Bangladesh Air Force, which was to take advantage of the lack of night-fighting capability of the PAF to launch hit-and-run attacks on sensitive targets inside Bangladesh from the air. The Bengali rank and file fixed up the World War II vintage runway at Dimapur, then began rigging the aircraft for combat duty. The Dakota was modified to carry 500 pound bombs, but for technical reasons it was only used to ferry Bangladesh government personnel. Captain Abdul Khalek, Captain Alamgir Satter, and Captain Abdul Mukit, all destined to earn the Bir Pratik award, piloted the Dakota. The helicopter was rigged to fire 14 rockets from pylons attached to its side and had .303 Browning machine guns installed, in addition to having 1-inch (25 mm) steel plate welded to its floor for extra protection. Squadron Leader Sultan Mahmood, Flight Lieutenant Bodiul Alam, and Captain Shahabuddin, all of whom later won the Bir Uttam award, operated the helicopter. The Otter boasted 7 rockets under each of its wings and could deliver ten 25 pound bombs, which were rolled out of the aircraft by hand through a makeshift door. Flight Lt. Shamsul Alam, along with Captains Akram Ahmed and Sharfuddin Ahmad, flew the Otter - all three were later awarded Bir Uttam for their service in 1971. This tiny force was dubbed Kilo Flight, the first fighting formation of the nascent Bangladesh Air force. Squadron Leader Sultan Mahmud was appointed as the commander of the 'Kilo Flight'.
Air Force personnel in 1971
During the Bangladesh War of Independence 1971, many career Air Force officers from eastern Pakistan and airmen participated in different sectors in Bangladesh and also at the headquarters. Below are a list of some notable participants:
- Air Vice-Marshal Sadruddin Hossain
- PAF-BAF – Retired; BDF Subsetor Commander
- Air Commodore Ataur Rahman
- PAF-BAF – Retired
- Squadron Leader Wahidur Rahim
- PAF-BAF – Retired
- Squadron Leader Nurul Kader
- PAF-BAF – Retired
- Squadron Leader Shamsur Rahman
- PAF-BAF – Retired
- Air Vice-Marshal Sultan Mahmud
- PAF-BAF – Retired
- Squadron Leader Nurul Islam
- PAF-BAF – Retired
- Group Captain Shamsul Alam
- PAF-BAF – Retired
- Flight Lieutenant Matiur Rahman, Bir Shreshtho
- PAF– Killed during attempt to defect to Bangladesh in 1971.
- Flight Lieutenant Liaqat
- PAF-BAF- Retired
- Flight Lieutenant Iqbal Rashid
- PAF-BAF- Retired
- Flying Officer Rouf
- PAF-BAF- Retired
- Group Captain AKM Mohsin
- PAF-BAF – Deceased
- Group Captain Ashraf
- PAF-BAF- Retired
- Flight Sergeant Abu Yusuf Khan
- PAF-BAF – Retired
- Flight Sergeant Shafiqullah
- PAF-BAF – Retired
Group Captain A K Khandker PAF-BAF – Was assigned as the Deputy Chief of Staff at the end of July 1971 under Lieutenant Colonel Abdur Rab who remained in Comilla during the war. His primary responsibility consisted of liaison with local Indian officials and defence personnel at Kalyani, Calcutta.
- Group Captain M. G. Tawab PAF-BAF - stayed in the Pakistan Air Force during the independence war and only return to Dhaka after Bangladesh become independent in 16 December 1971. He joined Bangladesh Forces the following day after returning to Dhaka, as Deputy C-in-C at BDF HQ at Dhaka Cantonment (Old 14 Div. HQ). Tawab remained in that post until 7 April 1972.
- Group Captain Safiul Azam PAF-BAF
After independence, the BAF received a significant donation from the former USSR. Among the aircraft delivered were ten single-seat Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21MFs and two twin-seat Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21UMs. Later China also supplied some equipment.
Apart from the aircraft of Kilo Flight which were donated to India, most Pakistan Air Force aircraft grounded in Dhaka due to runway cratering by the Indian Air Force during the liberation war, were sabotaged before surrender. Many of these were also returned to service by Bangladeshi ground technicians. The Pakistan Air Force prior to 1971 had many Bengali pilots, air traffic controllers, technicians and administrative officers. Many of them distinguished themselves during the Bangladesh Liberation War, they provided the nascent Bangladesh Air Force with a good number of trained personnel.
Defence co-operation improved with Pakistan considerably under the military regimes of Ziaur Rahman and Hossain Mohammad Ershad in Bangladesh, which had grown more distant from its war ally, India. Common concerns over India's regional power have influenced strategic co-operation leading to a gift of several squadrons of refurbished Shenyang F-6 fighter aircraft from Pakistan to the Bangladesh Air Force in the late 1980s. Bangladesh Air Force Academy (BAFA) received National colours in 2003 by the then honourable Prime Minister. Even the Recruits’ Training School (RTS) has been awarded with BAF Colours by ex-Chief of Air Staff (AVM Fakhrul Azam) in 2004.
Forces Goal 2030
The Bangladesh Air Force has an ambitious modernisation plan to be implemented in upcoming years under Forces Goal 2030. As per the goal, air force is to be a strong deterrent force to well protect the sky of Bangladesh. Plans are made to strengthen both air power and air defence capabilities. Currently, the BAF has concentrated on improving its trainer fleet and air defence capabilities. BAF has taken the delivery of sixteen Chengdu F-7BGI fighter aircraft, nine K-8W basic trainer aircraft, eleven Mil Mi-171Sh combat transport helicopters, three Let L-410 Turbolet transport trainer aircraft in 2015. By the end of 2015, it will take delivery of eleven Yakovlev Yak-130 advanced jet trainers and two AgustaWestland AW139 maritime SAR helicopters from 2010 to 2015. BAF is now awaiting to take delivery of five more Yak-130 aircraft, five Mil Mi-171Sh combat transport helicopters, new 12 Nanchang PT-6s and one Mil Mi-171E helicopter.
BAF earned the Surface to Air Missile capability by introducing FM-90 short range air defence missile in 2011. Currently, air force is awaiting the delivery of LY-80E medium range SAM system. Bangladesh air force will also receive Kasta 2E and Gamma DE air defence radars soon.
BAF is also in the process of acquiring new 4th/4++ generations fighters soon. Besides, the force is trying to make its own surveillance drones, which are expected to come in service by 2017.
UN mission deployment
More than 600+ BAF personnel, including officers and airmen, 10 BAF helicopters and are currently deployed to various UN Missions. Another C-130 transport aircraft is providing support to UN Mission in Africa. With the deployment of C-130 aircraft and its personnel, Bangladesh became the largest troops contributing country in UN Peace Keeping Missions.
List of the Chiefs of Air Staff, Bangladesh Air Force
Main Article : Chief of Air Staff of the Bangladesh Air Force
|No.||Name||Appointment Date||Left Office||Decorations|
|1st||Air Vice Marshal Abdul Karim Khandker||April 7, 1972||October 15, 1975||BU, psa|
|2nd||Air Vice Marshal Muhammad Ghulam Tawab||October 16, 1975||April 30, 1976||SJ, SBT, psa|
|3rd||Air Vice Marshal Khademul Bashar||May 1, 1976||September 1, 1976||BU, TBT|
|4th||Air Vice Marshal Abdul Gafoor Mahmud||September 5, 1976||December 8, 1977||TBT, psa|
|5th||Air Vice Marshal Sadruddin Mohammad Hossain||December 9, 1977||July 22, 1981||BP|
|6th||Air Vice Marshal Sultan Mahmud||July 23, 1981||July 22, 1987||BU|
|7th||Air Vice Marshal Momtaz Uddin Ahmed||July 23, 1987||June 4, 1991||psc|
|8th||Air Vice Marshal Altaf Hossain Chowdhury||June 4, 1991||June 3, 1995||ndu, psc|
|9th||Air Marshal Jamal Uddin Ahmed||June 4, 1995||June 3, 2001||ndc, bems, psc|
|10th||Air Vice Marshal Mohammad Rafiqul Islam||June 4, 2001||April 8, 2002||ndu, psc|
|11th||Air Vice Marshal Fakhrul Azam||April 8, 2002||April 7, 2007||ndc, psc|
|12th||Air Marshal Shah Mohammad Ziaur Rahman||April 8, 2007||June 12, 2012||ndc, fawc, psc|
|13th||Air Marshal Muhammad Enamul Bari||June 13, 2012||June 12, 2015||BBP, ndu, psc|
|14th||Air Chief Marshal Abu Esrar||June 12, 2015||Present||BBP, ndc, acsc|
The Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) has its HQ at Dhaka Cantonment. HQ has 3 branches, Operations & Training (Ops. & Trng.), Administration and Special Duties (Admin. & SD) and Material & Maintenance (M & Mte). Each branch is headed by officers who are considered as Principal Staff Officer (PSO) and known as Assistant Chief of Air Staff, e.g. ACAS (Ops & Trng). Under each PSO there are various Directorates headed by Directors of Group Captain/Air Commodore Rank. Under each Director there are Deputy Directors (DD) headed by Wing Commanders and Staff Officers(SO)with rank of Squadron Leader and below.
|Shoulder/Sleeve insignia||Appointment||Rank & Name||Star Plate|
|Chief of Air Staff||Air Chief Marshal Abu Esrar, BBP,ndc, acsc|
|Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Operations & Training)||Air Vice Marshal M Nayeem Hassan, afwc, psc|
|Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Administration)||Air Vice Marshal Mashiuzzaman Serniabad,
|Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Maintenance)||Air Vice Marshal Mazharul Islam, psc|
|Air Officer Commanding, BAF Base Khademul Bashar (Dhaka)||Air Vice Marshal Abul Bashar, afwc, psc|
|Air Officer Commanding, BAF Base Bangabandhu (Dhaka)||Air Commodore Mofidur Rahman, ndu, afwc, psc|
|Air Officer Commanding, BAF Base Zahurul Haq (Chittagong)||Air Commodore AHM Fazlul Haque, afwc, psc|
|Air Officer Commanding, BAF Base Matiur Rahman (Jessore)||Air Commodore M Shofiqul Alam, ndc,afwc,psc|
|Air Officer Commanding, BAF Base Paharkanchanpur (Tangail)||Air Commodore Md Zahidur Rahman, psc|
|Air Officer Commanding, BAF Base Cox's Bazar||Air Commodore Md Parvez Islam, adwc, ndc, psc|
Commissioned Officer ranks
|Air Chief Marshal||Air Marshal||Air Vice-Marshal||Air Commodore||Group Captain||Wing Commander||Squadron Leader||Flight Lieutenant||Flying Officer||Pilot Officer|
Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) Ranks
Main article: Bangladesh Air Force rank insignia
In descending order. Bangladesh Air Force
|Master Warrant Officer||Senior Warrant Officer||Warrant Officer|
Branches of Bangladesh Air Force are:
- General Duties (Pilot), abbreviation: GD(P)
- General Duties (Navigator), abbreviation: GD(N)
- Air Defense Weapons Controlling
- Air Traffic Controlling
- Medical (officers are seconded from army)
Trades of Bangladesh Air Force are:
- Aircraft Engineering
- Electrical and Instrument Engineering
- Communications and Electronics
- General Engineering
- Mechanical Transport Fitting
- Mechanical Transport Operating
- Armament Engineering
- Radio Engineering
- Ground Signalling
- Radar Operating
- Life Saving Equipment
- Air Traffic Control
- General Service
- Ground C
BAF Headquarters is located in Dhaka Cantonment. There are numerous bases set up all over the country. BAF Base Khademul Bashar Dhaka, BAF Base Bangabandhu Dhaka, BAF Base Zahurul Haque Chittagong and BAF Base Matiur Rahman Jessore are named after National as well as Air Force heroes. Other major bases are BAF Base Pahar Kanchanpur Tangail and Forward Operations Base at Cox's Bazar. There are also several independent units and detachments in places like Moulavibazar Radar Unit (MRU), Bogra Radar Unit (BRU), Lalmonirhat Unit, No. 74 Squadron Bangladesh Air Force at Chittagong and No.71 Squadron Bangladesh Air Force at Dhaka and Shamshernagar.
Bangladesh Air Force Academy is the commissioned officer training academy for all branches of Bangladesh Air Force. It is located at BAF Base Matiur Rahman in Jessore. Recruits Training School is the airman training centre for all trades of Bangladesh Air Force. It is located at BAF C&M Unit Shamshernagar in Moulvibazar.
|L-410 Turbolet||Czech Republic||transport||3|
|Bell 212||United States||utility||14|
|Mil Mi-17||Russia||utility / transport||Mi-17/171||28||9 on order|
|Nanchang PT-6||China||Primary Trainer||A||24||BAF will get 12 new Nanchang PT-6s to replace the fleet soon.|
|Chengdu F-7||People's Republic of China||jet trainer||FT-7||12||licensed built MiG-21|
|Hongdu JL-8||China / Pakistan||jet trainer||K-8||9|||
|Aero L-39||Czech Republic||primary trainer||7|
|Bell 206||United States||trainer||6|
|PL-2||Infrared Guided Air-to-air missile||F-7MB, F-7BG, F-7BGI|
|PL-5||E||Active Infrared Guided Air-to-air missile||F-7MB, F-7BG, F-7BGI|
|PL-7||Infrared Guided Air-to-air missile||F-7MB, F-7BG, F-7BGI||PRC version of the French Matra Magic R.550 missile.|
|PL-9||C||Infrared Guided Air-to-air missile||F-7MB, F-7BG, F-7BGI|
|LT-2||Laser Guided Bomb||F-7MB, F-7BG, F-7BGI|
|LS-6||Satellite Guided Bomb||F-7MB, F-7BG, F-7BGI|
|Vympel R-73||Infrared Guided Air-to-air missile||MiG-29|
|Vympel R-27||BVR Air-to-air missile||MiG-29|
|FM-90||Surface-to-air missile||Ground Based Air Defence|
Future modernisation programme
The BAF has an ongoing modernisation programme under Forces Goal 2030 to become a strong force to defend the sky of Bangladesh. It has plans to acquire both modern aircraft and air defence capabilities.
The BAF ordered a total of 16 Yakovlev Yak-130 Lead-in fighter trainer from Russia in 2013. Six aircraft were received in 2015 and inducted into fleet while other ten will be delivered within 2016. Besides, Gamma-DE and Kasta 2E RADAR are also ordered from Russia. All these come under $1bn credit line provided by Russia in 2013. BAF also bought five Mil Mi-171Sh combat transport helicopters in 2014 and ordered five more in 2015.
Recently the prime minister of Bangladesh declared that Bangladesh Air Force will be turned into a strategically and technically sound, strong, and capable force through its further modernisation by 2021, the Golden Jubilee of the country's independence. She stated that the ageing fleet of Nanchang PT-6 basic trainers will be replaced by new PT-6s.
Bangladesh is also negotiating with the US government for the regeneration, overhaul, modifications and logistics support for four off-the-shelf Lockheed Martin C-130Es, 20 engines and associated parts, equipment, and training for an estimated cost of $180 million.
On 25 January 2015, Minister for Public Administration Syed Ashraful Islam said that the government has planned to buy some war planes according to Forces Goal 2030 to modernise the air force. He said, the government will buy multirole combat aircraft, medium range fixed wing transport aircraft and helicopter trainer.[unreliable source?]
Bangladesh Air Force ordered a Selex RAT-31DL L Band AESA radar from Leonardo-Finmeccanica of Italy worth approximately US$19 million. This radar will be set up in Barisal to bolster the security of the southern Bangladesh. 
- Bangabandhu Aeronautical Centre
- Bangladesh Army
- Bangladesh Navy
- Bangladesh National Cadet Corps (BNCC)
- Bangladesh Air Force Academy
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