The home ministry would procure two Russian multi-role choppers for Border Guard Bangladesh as part of modernisation of the force.
BGB director general Major General Abul Hossain at a press conference at border guard headquarters on Wednesday said that they had other options but chose Mi series choppers as their rate of accidents was low and Air Force pilots were familiar with them.
‘We examined other options. We could buy from Eurocopter of others [Bell] but the position of Mi series is better than others,’ he said.
The BGB chief said that he had visited Russia recently while a home ministry official said that the home minister had left for Russia on July 19 for a short trip.
Abul Hossain said that they would need to depend on pilots from Bangladesh Air Force as neither the border guard nor the home ministry had pilots.
He said that they were now building heliports in Chittagong.
Border guard additional director general Abul Hasnat Muhammad Khairul Bashar, who is in the process of recommending the specifications of the two choppers, told New Age that they would pick either from Mi 17 or Mi171 helicopters.
He declined to comment on the unit price of the Mi choppers but a defence ministry official said that generally a Mi 17/171 cost Tk 100 crore but depended on the deals considering the ‘options and avionics matters.’
The Air Force has a number of American Bell 212, Russian Mi 17 and Mi 171 and Italian AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters.
Border guard had few aircrafts in the past and one of its aircraft was under supervision of Air Force.
‘We have compared the capabilities our neighbours have,’ said the BGB chief.
Indian Border Security Force has an air wing since 1969 and its fleet consists of Embraer-135 J, Avro (HS-748) and Super King B-200 aircrafts in fixed wing and ALH (Dhruv), Cheetah and Mi-17 1V in Rotary Wing. With ever increasing role of air support, air wing is adding new aircraft in its fleet with MTA and Mi-17 V5, according to BSF website.
The BGB chief said that they were procuring the military choppers to transport personnel and rations to and from the remote battalions in Chittagong Hill Tracts.
General Abul Hossain also said that they were upgrading the riverine platoon to a battalion and procurement to this end was underway.
He also highlighted the measures the force had taken to secure the border and plans they had taken to curb border crimes.
He said that they were planning to fight jointly against drug smuggling while vigilance would be strengthened against arms smuggling ahead of the next national elections.
He also said that they were working to lower the number of border killing and already opened the border for the Indian cattle meant for Eid-ul-Azha, to be celebrated in first week of September.
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