BAF getting multibillion taka revampBdnews24.com . Dhaka
The government has initiated a ‘massive programme’ to technologically advance the Bangladesh Air Force, a parliamentary watchdog says in a report.
The multibillion taka programme include purchase of fighters, advanced jet trainers, radar and other equipment from Russia, China and other countries.
‘Bangladesh installed short range air defence system in December last year. It signed agreements last year to buy one squadron (16) of F-7 BGI fighter planes, three MI-171 helicopters and two AD radars,’ revealed a report of the parliamentary standing committee on planning ministry.
‘Bangladesh will also procure one squadron of Multi-Role Combat Aircraft advanced jet trainers and high-power radar under long-term loan protocol from Russia,’ it added.
Under the modernisation plan announced by the Awami League-led government, new weapons and reconnaissance have been added to the force, says the report, a copy of which is available with the news agency.
‘The government has asked us to give a modernisation plan. Accordingly we provided the plan and working on it,’ said a senior air force official who is familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity.
‘We never had SHORAD, but now we have installed it. Also, we laid foundation to set up Bangabandhu aeronautical technology centre where we can have test launch and repair our planes,’ he said.
‘We have signed a couple of agreements with Russia and China and expect to get the delivery in phases starting from this year,’ the official said. ‘We hope to get a couple of BGI fighter planes from China this year.’
Officials say the air force purchases highly technical gadgets and for that intense study is necessary.
‘It takes about two years of study before an order is placed to buy a particular type of plane,’ he said.
‘Over the years we have developed negotiation skills to bargain for Bangladesh-specific products and to not purchase what is available with the manufacturers,’ he explained.
‘We have courses at the staff college where we teach and learn about this study and negotiations,’ the official said. ‘Often we inquire about the quality of a product from consumers, not from manufacturers.’
‘The purchase contracts include all the technical details, photographs of the products and conditions regarding supply of spare parts and other accessories,’ the air force official continued.
The watchdog’s report said a total of 3,122 air force members will get training in the current fiscal year and out of them 120 would be trained overseas.
In the Medium Term Budget Framework, it was revealed that the air force would replace 16 fighter planes and 16 training planes.
The air force earmarked Tk 17.66 billion in spending for fiscal 2011-12, which will jump to Tk 25.49 billion in 2015-16 fiscal year.
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