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Bangladesh Air Force

The Bangladesh Air Force (Bangladesh Biman Bahini in Bangla) is the Aviation branch of the Bangladesh Armed Forces.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Aircraft
3 Markings
4 External Links


The Bangladesh Air Force was officially formed in 1973 following the independence of Bangladesh from Pakistan which was acheived during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. The Bangladesh Air Force was initially equipped with left-over Pakistan Air Force equipment, mostly F-86 Sabres, and even these were few. Other equipment was donated from India and included: C-47 Dakotas, DHC-3s and Aloutte Helicopters. Despite the lack of aircraft, the Pakistan Air Force prior to 1971 had a large number of Bengali pilots, many of them distinguishing themselves, this provided the Bangladesh Air Force with a good number of trained pilots.

As the 1970's progressed, the Bangladesh Air Force received equipment from the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. Soviet equipment included: MiG-21s, An-24s, An-26s, and Mi-4 helicopters.

In the 1980s and 1990s, both France and the United States donated trainer aircraft, such as the T-37. Bangaldesh's former advesary, Pakistan donated a number of refurbished Shenyang F-6s. Some were lost in 1991 though due to floods. Despite the loss, many of these aircraft saw service in the Bangladesh Air Force, although they have since been phased out of service.

Currently the Bangladesh Air Force is armed mostly with Chinese jets, A-5s and F-7s. Recently it also procured Russian MiG-29s, although this has caused a controversy in political circles due to the cost, and the lack of an immediate threat to Bangladesh. The controversy has led to talk of withdrawing the aircraft due to the costs involved in maintaining them. C-130 Hercules have also been ordered by the Bangladesh Air Force, and should enter service soon.

There are three main Air Bases: Bashar Air Base in Dhaka (this air base actually consists of two bases: Tejgaon and Kurmitola), Zahrul Haque Air Base in Chittagong and Matiur Rahman Air Base in Jessore. The Air Force academy is also located in Jessore.

Interestingly, all the Air Bases are named after national heroes.

One interesting fact is that the airbase in Jessore is named for Matiur Rahman who is honored in Bangladesh as a martyr and awared the posthomous honor of Bir Sreshtho. He is also the pilot who was responsible for crashing the plane which was also occupied by Rashid Minhas, a national hero in Pakistan. Rahman was trying to defect from the Pakistani Air Force and join the liberation movement of Bangladesh by defecting to India. Minhas is credited for stopping him. Both men won the highest military honors of their nations and have Air Bases named for them in their countries.



The markings of the Bangladesh Air Force are similar to that of the
Pakistan Air Force, except the roundel replaces white with red. Like the Air forces of Pakistan and India, the planes of Bangladesh Air Force have the national flag on the tail.

External Links