Bangladesh Air Force

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Bangladesh Air Force
বাংলাদেশ বিমান বাহিনী
Bangladesh Air Force emblem.svg
The Crest of the Bangladesh Air Force
Active 1971–present
Country Bangladesh
Allegiance People's Republic of Bangladesh
Type Air force
Role Aerial warfare
Size 14,000 active personnel[1]
4,000 reservists[verification needed]
157 aircraft[2]
Part of Bangladesh Armed Forces
Air Headquarters Dhaka Cantonment
Nickname(s) BAF
Patron The President of Bangladesh
Motto(s) বাংলার আকাশ রাখিব মুক্ত
Transliteration:Banglar Aakash Rakhibo Mukto
(Free shall we keep the sky of Bangladesh)[3]
Colors Light Sky, Deep sky         
Mascot(s) Flying Eagle
Anniversaries 28 September (Air Force Day), Armed Forces Day (21 November)
Engagements Bangladesh Liberation War
Gulf War
Chittagong Hill Tracts operation
United Nations peacekeeping missions
Website www.baf.mil.bd
Commanders
Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Masihuzzaman Serniabat, BBP, OSP, ndu, psc
Insignia
Ensign Air Force Ensign of Bangladesh.svg
Roundel Roundel of Bangladesh.svg
Aircraft flown
Attack Yak-130, Mil Mi-17
Fighter MiG-29, F-7
Helicopter Bell 206, Bell 212, Mi-17, AW 139
Trainer PT-6, Bell 206, L-39, K-8, YAK 130, L-410
Transport C-130, An-32, L-410

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 the air defence of Bangladesh territory and providing air support to the Bangladesh Army and Navy. Additionally, the service has a territorial role of providing strategic air transport and logistics capability for the country.

Since its establishment on 28 September 1971, the Air Force has been involved in various combat and humanitarian operations, from the Bangladesh Liberation War in which it was born, to supporting international efforts including the Coalition of the Gulf War and United Nations peacekeeping missions.

History[edit]

Foundation[edit]

MiG-29 and F-7 aircraft display during Bangladesh Air Force Victory Day Flypast and Aerobatics Show 2016

The Bangladesh Air Force was officially formed at the Sector Commanders Conference during Bangladesh's independence war from Pakistan in 1971. Its official date of formation has been established as 28 September 1971[citation needed] and it was launched formally by the government on 8 October 1971.[4] BAF's initial personnel were Bengali members of the Pakistan Air Force who were stationed in East Pakistan at the outbreak of the war and who deserted to the Bangladeshi side.[4] 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. A significant number of BAF personnel participated in the Bangladesh War of Independence. During the independence war, officers of the BAF attached to the Z-Force were then Bangladesh Gov't Representative to Chakulia Guerrilla Training Camp Squadron Leader M. Hamidullah Khan,[5] 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.[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 Chattogram-based Oil tank depot and oil tank depot was totally destroyed by that air attack. The Air attack was conducted by Capt. Akram Ahmed.[7] The second Bangladesh Air Force attack was on 6 December 1971 at Moulovi Bazar Pakistani Army barracks under the command of Squadron Leader Sultan Mahmud, where Captain Shahabuddin Ahmed was co-pilot.[7]

A BAF F-86 Sabre in the BAF Museum

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,[8] 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.[9] 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 gallantry award, piloted the DC-3 Dakota. The Alouette III 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 gallantry award, operated the helicopter. The Twin 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'.[10][11]

After independence[edit]

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.[8]

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. It had grown with the repatriation of Air Force personal from Pakistan in 1973 after the Simla Agreement.[4] In 1977 some personnel of Bangladesh Air Force staged a mutiny.[12]

View of BAF Information and Selection Centre, Dhaka

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.[8] Bangladesh bought 8 Mig-29 from Russia in 1999 under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.[13] Bangladesh Air Force Academy (BAFA) received National colours in 2003 by the then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia. The Recruits’ Training School (RTS) has been awarded with BAF Colours by ex-Chief of Air Staff (AVM Fakhrul Azam) in 2004. In 2017 Bangladesh Air Force was awarded the Independence Day Award.[14]

Forces Goal 2030[edit]

Yak-130s of the Bangladesh Air Force

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 land based air defence capabilities. Since the formulation of the forces goal 2030, the BAF has developed in many folds.

Since 2010, BAF has taken the delivery of sixteen Chengdu F-7BGI fighter aircraft, sixteen Yakovlev Yak-130 advanced jet trainers, nine K-8W jet trainer aircraft, three Let L-410 Turbolet transport trainer aircraft[15] and twenty three PT-6 basic trainers.[16] Process is going on for the procurement of eight multirole combat aircraft.[17][18]

BAF has also taken the delivery of sixteen Mi-171Sh combat transport helicopters, two AgustaWestland AW139 maritime SAR helicopters[19] and two AW 119KX training helicopters since 2010.

BAF earned the Surface to Air Missile capability by introducing FM-90 short range air defence missile in 2011.[20] Till date, BAF Has taken the delivery of two regiments of FM-90 systems. Bangladesh air force will receive Italian origin long range Selex RAT-31DL air defence radar and a short range air defence radar soon. Process of procuring one battery of medium range surface to air missile system is going on.[21]

UN mission deployment[edit]

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 peacekeeping missions.

List of the Chiefs of Air Staff[edit]

Main Article : Chief of Air Staff of the Bangladesh Air Force

Organisation[edit]

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.[22][not in citation given] The Bangladesh Air Force is currently commanded by Air Marshal Masihuzzaman Serniabat,BBP, OSP, ndu, psc.[22][23]

The Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) has its headquarters 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.

Senior commanders[edit]

Shoulder Appointment Rank & Name Star Plate
UK-Air-OF8.svg Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Masihuzzaman Serniabat, BBP, OSP, ndu, psc, GD(P)[22] Air Marshal star plate.svg
UK-Air-OF7.svg Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Operations) Air Vice-Marshal star plate.svg
UK-Air-OF7.svg Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Administration) Air Vice Marshal M Abul Bashar, OSP, ndc, psc, GD(P) Air Vice-Marshal star plate.svg
UK-Air-OF7.svg Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Planning) Air Vice Marshal M Sanaul Huq, OSP, GUP, ndc, psc, GD(P) Air Vice-Marshal star plate.svg
UK-Air-OF7.svg Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Maintenance) Air Vice Marshal M Quamrul Ehsan, BUP, ndc, psc Air Vice-Marshal star plate.svg
UK-Air-OF7.svg Air Officer Commanding, BAF Base Khademul Bashar (Dhaka) Air Vice Marshal Ehasanul Gani Choudhury, OSP, GUP, ndu, psc Air Vice-Marshal star plate.svg
UK-Air-OF6.svg Air Officer Commanding, BAF Base Bangabandhu (Dhaka) Air Vice Marshal Md Shafiqul Alam, BSP, ndc, afwc, psc Air Vice-Marshal star plate.svg
UK-Air-OF6.svg Air Officer Commanding, BAF Base Zahurul Haq (Chattogram) Air Commodore Murshed Hasan Siddiqui, psc, GD(P) Air Commodore star plate.svg
UK-Air-OF7.svg Air Officer Commanding, BAF Base Matiur Rahman (Jashore) Air Vice Marshal Sheikh Abdul Hannan, nswc, psc, GD(P) Air Vice-Marshal star plate.svg
UK-Air-OF6.svg Air Officer Commanding, BAF Base Paharkanchanpur (Tangail) Air Commodore HNM Ehtesham Mahmud, ndc, psc, GD(P) Air Commodore star plate.svg
UK-Air-OF6.svg Air Officer Commanding, BAF Base Cox's Bazar Air Commodore M Yousuf Ali, GUP, ndc, psc, GD(P) Air Commodore star plate.svg

Trades (Airmen)[24][edit]

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
  • Photography
  • Air Traffic Control
  • Education
  • Cypher
  • Meteorological
  • Medical
  • Secretarial
  • Supply
  • General Service
  • Provost
  • Catering
  • Musician
  • Aircrew
  • Ground Combat

Branches (officer)[edit]

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
  • Meteorology
  • Engineering
  • Logistics
  • Administration
  • Finance/Accounts
  • Education
  • Legal
  • Medical (officers are seconded from army)

Rank structure[edit]

Ranks Bangladesh Air Force

Officers[edit]

NATO code OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2
 Bangladesh UK-Air-OF9.svg UK-Air-OF8.svg UK-Air-OF7.svg UK-Air-OF6.svg UK-Air-OF5.svg UK-Air-OF4.svg UK-Air-OF3.svg UK-Air-OF2.svg UK-Air-OF1A.svg No equivalent No equivalent
Air Chief Marshal Air Marshal Air Vice-Marshal Air Commodore Group Captain Wing Commander Squadron Leader Flight Lieutenant Flying Officer

Junior Commissioned Officer and Airmen[edit]

NATO code OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1
 Bangladesh Master warrant officer (MWO).jpg Senior warrant officer (SWO).jpg Warrant officer (WO).jpg Sergeant-baf.jpg Corporal baf.jpeg Leading Aircraftman.jpeg Aircraftman.jpeg No equivalent No equivalent No equivalent No equivalent
Master Warrant Officer Senior Warrant Officer Warrant Officer Sergeant Corporal Leading Aircraftman Aircraftman 1