Bangladesh to build fighter planes one day, hopes PM

United News of Bangladesh . Dhaka

Expressing her high hope to build fighter planes by Bangladesh on its own in future, the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, on Wednesday reaffirmed her strong resolve to turn Bangladesh Air Force into a strong and more effective force by the time when the country will be observing its golden jubilee of independence.
‘I hope we’ll be able to build fighter planes of our own in the future, Inshaallah. Bangladesh Air Force will be turned into a strong and more effective force from strategic point through its further modernisation by the time when the country will be observing its golden jubilee of independence.’ she said.
The prime minister was addressing a function marking the induction of three L-410 training aircraft to the Air Force fleet held at the BAF Base Bashar in Dhaka.
‘Awami League government has always given special importance to development of the Air Force and ensuring welfare of the members of this force. The pace of such development will continue,’ she told the function.
Hasina said with the induction of the three L-410 training aircraft to the Air Force fleet, the cost of necessary training would reduce as well as such aircraft would be able to conduct necessary search and rescue operations, patrol, air survey, paratrooping and thus raising the overall transport capacity of Bangladesh Air Force to international standards.
The prime minister mentioned that advanced jet trainer YAK-130 would be procured soon from Russia under Loan protocol while one more Mi-171SH helicopter from Russia would be inducted soon to the Bangladesh Air Force under Russian loan protocol while a process is underway to purchase another Mi-171E helicopter.
Besides, two Agusta Westland helicopters were going to be inducted to the Air Force fleet to bring dynamism into the maritime search and rescue operations.
Mentioning that there was no alternative to labour, professional skills and honesty, the prime minster asked the Air Force personnel to pay attention to training and exercise imbued with the motto of highest discipline and patriotism. ‘Become vanguard at airspace during battle and become close friends of people in tackling natural disasters.’
She said not only the Bangladesh Air Force, her government has been continuing its drive to develop each and every institution and continue it.
Listing her government’s various steps taken for the development of the Bangladesh Air Force, Hasina said that 4th generation state-of-the-art MiG-29 fighter planes were inducted to the Air Force fleet in 2000 alongside induction of superior and spacious C-130 transport aircraft and high-capacity air defense radar.
After assuming office in 2009, she said modern F-7BG1 fighter plane has already been included to the air force carrier alongside induction for the first time of the surface to air missile.
Besides, Bangabandhu Aeronautical Center has been set up to ensure proper, safe and cost-effective maintenance and overhauling of all sorts of aircraft, radar and other machineries, including that of F-7 fighter planes.
She said the overhauling activities of F-7 fighter planes has already started at the maintenance, repairing and overhauling plant and work for completing the MRO unit for the Mi series helicopter overhauling was in the final stage.
‘I hope such establishments would help the Air Force achieve self-reliance and create scope for earning foreign currency through conducting overhauling activities of the aircraft and helicopters of foreign air forces.’
She also asked the air force personnel concerned to become utmost careful towards ensuring flying and maintenance of these L-410 aircraft which were procured with the hard-earned taxpayers’ money.
According to the Air Force, the government on June 26, 2014 approved the procurement of L-410 to meet the requirement of transport trainer aircraft for BAF. Consequently, 103 Air Transport Training Unit started its journey as per prepared TO&E with effect from 15 April 2015.
This unit would operate Czech Republic made three L-410 aircraft. A total of four pilots and 23 BAF airmen were trained on the aircraft from the aircraft factory. The aircraft will be primarily utilized for conversion training, instructor training, air navigation, airmen aircrew training and air movement procedure training.
Besides, the aircraft can be used for SAR mission, aerial survey and photo reconnaissance, para trooping, aerial delivery. The aircraft with 2 pilots and capacity of 19 passengers has a maximum range of 1400 kilometer.
Hasina said her government was always sincere to ensure more participation and representation of the Bangladesh Air Force in the UN peacekeeping mission. In this connection, she said a contingent of Bangladesh Air Force comprising 110 members and three helicopters would soon join the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti.
Meanwhile, the prime minister took salute from a smartly turned-out contingent of the Air Force in connection with the induction ceremony with Wing Commander Rashed Ahmed Siddique leading it. During the parade, Sheikh Hasina handed over the ‘Induction Order’ to the parade commander.
After the parade, the prime minister witnessed a static display of newly inducted three L-410 Transport Trainer Aircraft made by Czech Republic.

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