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Bangladesh Air Force


Bangladesh Air Force

Bangladesh Air Force
বাংলাদেশ বিমান বাহিনী
Bangladesh Air Force emblem
Active 1971–present
Country Bangladesh
Allegiance People's Republic of Bangladesh
Type Military aviation
Role Aerial warfare
Size 14,000 personnel
500 pilots
197 aircraft [1]
Part of Bangladesh Armed Forces
Air Headquarters Dhaka Cantonment
Nickname(s) BAF
Patron The President of Bangladesh

বাংলার আকাশ রাখিব মুক্ত
Transliteration:Banglar Aakash Rakhibo Mukto

(Free shall we keep the sky of Bangladesh)[2]
Engagements Bangladesh Liberation War
Gulf War
Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Abu Esrar, BBP,ndc, acsc
Aircraft flown
Attack MiG-29, Mi-171, Yak-130
Bomber An-32 (converted)
Fighter MiG-29, F-7
Helicopter Bell 206, Bell 212, Mi-17, AW 139
Interceptor F-7
Reconnaissance F-7
Trainer PT-6, Bell 206, L-39, K-8, YAK 130, L-410
Transport An-32, C-130, L-410

The Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) (Bengali: বাংলাদেশ বিমান বাহিনী, [Bān:lād ēś bimān:bāhinī], reporting name: BAF), is the aerial warfare branch of the Bangladesh Armed Forces, primarily tasked with an aerial defense of Bangladesh with a role of providing air support to Bangladesh Army and Navy. The Bangladesh Air Force, being the first line of defence for Bangladesh employs around 22,000 full-time personnel, including 1,500 pilots and currently operates around 190 aircraft.[3] Bangladesh Air Force has a territorial role of providing strategic air transport and logistics capability to Bangladesh. Bangladesh Air Force has been part of major operations such as Operation Desert Storm, Gulf War, and Chittagong Hill Tracts operation. the BAF has been an active participant in United Nations peacekeeping missions. In Defence IQ 2011 International Fighter Aircraft Conference in London, the Air Force revealed their long-term advancement and procurement plan TO induct seven squadron fighter jet by 2021.[4]

Since its establishment in 21 September 1971, the Air Force has been involved in various combat and humanitarian operations. 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 three-star air officer (Air Marshal), commands the Air Force. The Bangladesh Air Force is currently commanded by Air Marshal Abu Esrar,BBP,ndc,acsc.[5]

The Bangladesh Air Force was established in 1971 with 300 personnel from Pakistan Air Force. The Bangladesh Air Force's current strength is 22,000 active personnel, and 15,000 reserve personnel .

Location of Bangladesh
Location of Bangladesh.

View of BAF Information and Selection Centre, Dhaka
Bangladesh Air Force MiG-29 Taking Part in Flypast of victory day, 2012.
Mil Mi-17 Hip Helicopter of Bangladesh Air Force on UN Mission


  • History 1
    • Foundation 1.1
    • Air Force personnel in 1971 1.2
    • Non-combatant staff 1.3
    • Distinguished personnel 1.4
    • After Independence 1.5
    • Forces Goal 2030 1.6
    • UN mission deployment 1.7
  • List of the Chiefs of Air Staff, Bangladesh Air Force 2
  • Organizational structure 3
    • Command structure 3.1
  • Ranks 4
    • Commissioned Officer ranks 4.1
    • Junior Commissioned Officer Ranks(Class -1 Gazetted Officer (Non Cadre)) 4.2
  • Branches (officer) 5
  • Trades (Airmen) 6
  • Installations 7
  • Aircraft 8
    • Current inventory 8.1
  • Guided weapons 9
  • Future modernization program 10
  • See also 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13



The Bangladesh Air Force was officially formed at the Sector Commanders Conference during its independence war from Pakistan in 1971. Its official date of formation has been established as 28 September 1971 and it was launched formally by the Government on 8 October 1971. Out of 11 BDF Sectors, the most tactically significant sector, the Central Sector - Sector 11, was in command of a BAF officer including Sector 6. A significant number of BAF personnel participated in the Bangladesh War of Independence. Initially, BAF was formed with all officers and airmen of Bengali origin serving in the Pakistan Air Force prior to the war. At that time, the embryo of Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) was formed with less than hundred officers and a quite good number of airmen and warrant officers. During the independence war, officers of the BAF attached to the Z-Force were then BD Gov't Representative to Chakulia Guerilla Trng. Camp Squadron Leader M. Hamidullah Khan,[6] 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.[7]

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 Chittagong-based Oil tank depot and oil tank depot was totally destroyed by that air attack. The Air attack was conducted by Capt. Akram Ahmed.[8] The second Bangladesh Air Force attack was on 6 December 1971 at Moulovi Bazar Pakitani Army barracks under the command of Squadron Leader Sultan Mahmud, where Captain Shahabuddin Ahmed was co-pilot.[9]

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,[10] 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. 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 award, piloted the Dakota. The 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 award, operated the helicopter. The 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'.

Air Force personnel in 1971

During the Bangladesh War of Independence 1971, many career Air Force officers from eastern Pakistan and airmen participated in different sectors in Bangladesh and also at the headquarters. Below are a list of some notable participants:

Wing Commander M.Hamidullah Khan
PAF-BAF – Deceased; BDF Commander Sector 11

Air vice-marshal Khademul Bashar

PAF-BAF – Deceased; BDF Commander Sector 6
Air vice-marshal Sadruddin Hossain
PAF-BAF – Retired; BDF Subsetor Commander
Air Commodore Ataur Rahman
PAF-BAF – Retired
Squadron Leader Wahidur Rahim
PAF-BAF – Retired
Squadron Leader Nurul Kader
PAF-BAF – Retired
Squadron Leader Shamsur Rahman
PAF-BAF – Retired
Air vice-marshal Sultan Mahmud
PAF-BAF – Retired
Squadron Leader Nurul Islam
PAF-BAF – Retired
Group Captain Shamsul Alam
PAF-BAF – Retired
Flight Lieutenant Badrul Alam, Bir Uttom
PAF-BAF - Retired
Flight Lieutenant Matiur Rahman, Bir Shreshtho
PAF– Killed during attempt to defect to Bangladesh in 1971.
Flight Lieutenant Liaqat
PAF-BAF- Retired
Flight Lieutenant Iqbal Rashid
PAF-BAF- Retired
Flying Officer Rouf
PAF-BAF- Retired
Group Captain AKM Mohsin
PAF-BAF – Deceased
Group Captain Ashraf
PAF-BAF- Retired
Flight Sergeant Abu Yusuf Khan
PAF-BAF – Retired
Flight Sergeant Shafiqullah
PAF-BAF – Retired

Non-combatant staff

Group Captain A K Khandker PAF-BAF – Was assigned as the Deputy Chief of Staff at the end of July 1971 under Lieutenant Colonel Abdur Rab who remained in Comilla during the war. His primary responsibility consisted of liaison with local Indian officials and defence personnel at Kalyani, Calcutta.

Distinguished personnel

  • Group Captain M. G. Tawab PAF-BAF - stayed in the Pakistan Air Force during the independence war and only return to Dhaka after Bangladesh become independent in 16 December 1971. He joined Bangladesh Forces the following day after returning to Dhaka, as Deputy C-in-C at BDF HQ at Dhaka Cantonment (Old 14 Div. HQ). Tawab remained in that post until 7 April 1972.
  • Group Captain Safiul Azam PAF-BAF

After Independence

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.[10]

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 a large number of 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.

Defense cooperation 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 cooperation 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.[10] Bangladesh Air Force Academy (BAFA) received National colours in 2003 by the then honorable Prime Minister. Even the Recruits’ Training School (RTS) has been awarded with BAF Colours by ex-Chief of Air Staff in 2004.

Forces Goal 2030

The Bangladesh Air Force has an ambitious modernization 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 air defence capabilities. Currently, the BAF has concentrated on improving its trainer fleet and air defence capabilities. BAF has already taken the delivery of nine K-8 basic trainer aircraft, four Mil Mi-171SH combat helicopters and three Let L-410 Turbolet transport trainer aircraft in 2015.[11] By the end of 2015, it will take delivery of 16 Yakovlev Yak-130, two AgustaWestland AW139 maritime search and rescue helicopters, one Mil Mi-171SH combat helicopter, new 12 Nanchang PT-6s, which will replace the existing fleet of Nanchang PT-6s.[12]

BAF earned the Surface to Air Missile capability by introducing FM-90 short range air defence missile in 2011.[13] Currently, air force is awaiting for the delivery of LY-80E medium range SAM system. Bangladesh air force will also receive Kasta 2E and Gamma DE air defence radars soon.

BAF is also in the process of acquiring new 4th/4++ generations fighters soon. Besides, the force is trying to make its own surveillance drones, which are expected to come in service by 2017.

UN mission deployment

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 Peace Keeping Missions.

List of the Chiefs of Air Staff, Bangladesh Air Force

Air Vice Marshal Abdul Karim Khandker
(10 April 1972 – 17 August 1975)
Air Vice Marshal Muhammad Ghulam Tawab
(August 18th 1975–1977)
Air Vice Marshal Khademul Bashar
Air Vice Marshal Abdul Gafoor Mahmud
Air Vice Marshal Sadruddin Mohammad Hossain
Air Vice Marshal Sultan Mahmud
Air Vice Marshal Momtaz Uddin Ahmed
Air Vice Marshal Altaf Hossain Chowdhury
(4 June 1991 – 3 June 1995)
Air Marshal Jamal Uddin Ahmed
(3 June 1995 – 4 June 2001)
Air Vice Marshal Rafiqul Islam
(4 June 2001 – 7 April 2002)
Air Vice Marshal Fakhrul Azam
(8 April 2002 – 7 April 2007)
Air Marshal Shah Mohammad Ziaur Rahman ndc, afwc, psc
(8 April 2007 – 12 June 2012)
Air Marshal Muhammad Enamul Bari,BBP, ndu, psc
(13 June 2012 – 12 June 2015 )
Air Marshal Abu Esrar,BBP, ndc, acsc
(12 June 2015 (Afternoon) – Present)

Organizational structure

The Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) has its HQ 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.

Command structure

Shoulder/Sleeve insignia Appointment Rank & Name Star Plate
Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Abu Esrar, BBP,ndc, acsc
Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Operations & Training) Air Vice Marshal M Nayeem Hassan, afwc, psc
Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Administration) Air Vice Marshal Mashiuzzaman Serniabad, ndu, psc
Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Maintenance) Air Vice Marshal Mazharul Islam, psc
Air Officer Commanding, BAF Base Khademul Bashar (Dhaka) Air Vice Marshal Abul Bashar, afwc, psc
Air Officer Commanding, BAF Base Bangabandhu (Dhaka) Air Commodore M Obaidur Rahman, ndc, psc
Air Officer Commanding, BAF Base Zahurul Haq (Chittagong) Air Commodore M Humayun Kabir, ndc, psc
Air Officer Commanding, BAF Base Matiur Rahman (Jessore) Air Commodore M Sayed Hossain, psc
Air Officer Commanding, BAF Base Paharkanchanpur (Tangail) Air Commodore Muhammad Belel, ndc, psc
Air Officer Commanding, BAF Base Cox's Bazar Air Commodore Md Parvez Islam, adwc, ndc, psc


Commissioned Officer ranks

(in descending order) Bangladesh Air Force

Air Chief Marshal    Air Marshal    Air Vice-Marshal    Air Commodore    Group Captain    Wing Commander    Squadron Leader    Flight Lieutenant    Flying Officer    Pilot Officer   

Junior Commissioned Officer Ranks(Class -1 Gazetted Officer (Non Cadre))

In descending order.[14] Bangladesh Air Force

Master Warrant Officer    Senior Warrant Officer    Warrant Officer   

Branches (officer)

Bell 206 Long Ranger of Bangladesh Air Force.

Branches of Bangladesh Air Force are:

  • General Duties (Pilot)
  • General Duties (Navigator)
  • Air Defense Weapons Controlling
  • Air Traffic Controlling
  • Meteorology
  • Engineering
  • Logistics
  • Administration
  • Finance/Accounts
  • Education
  • Legal
  • Medical (officers are seconded from army)

Trades (Airmen)

Bangladesh Air Force Antonov An-32 Batuzak-1(converted)
Bangladesh Air Force and US Marines in Air Exercise

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
  • Administrative Assistance


BAF Headquarters is located in Dhaka Cantonment. There are numerous bases set up all over the country. BAF Base Khademul Bashar Dhaka, BAF Base Bangabandhu Dhaka, BAF Base Zahurul Haque Chittagong and BAF Base Matiur Rahman Jessore are named after National as well as Air Force heroes. Other major bases are BAF Base Pahar Kanchanpur Tangail and Forward Operations Base at Cox's Bazar. There are also several independent units and detachments in places like Moulavibazar Radar Unit (MRU), Bogra Radar Unit (BRU), Lalmonirhat Unit, No. 74 Squadron Bangladesh Air Force at Chittagong & No.71 Squadron Bangladesh Air Force at Dhaka & Shamshernagar.

Bangladesh Air Force Academy is the commissioned officer training academy for all branches of Bangladesh Air Force. It is located at BAF Base Matiur Rahman in Jessore. Recruits Training School is the airman training center for all trades of Bangladesh Air Force. It is located at BAF C&M Unit Shamshernagar in Moulvibazar.[15]


Bangladesh Air Force MIG-29 running for take off
An Air Force Mil Hip helicopter fly over
A Bangladesh Air Force F-7 landing

Current inventory

Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
Chengdu F-7 China fighter 37[16]
MiG-29 Russia multirole 8[16]
Antonov An-32 Ukraine transport 3[16]
C-130 United States transport C-130B/E 4[16]
AW139 Italy SAR 2 on order[16]
Bell 212 United States utility 14[16]
Mil Mi-17 Russia utility / transport Mi-17/171 29[16] 2 more on order (1 Mi-171Sh&1 Mi-171E)
Trainer Aircraft
F-7 People's Republic of China jet trainer FT-7 12[16] licensed built MiG-21
JL-8 China jet trainer 4[16] 5 on order[16]
Aero L-39 Czech Republic primary trainer 7[16]
Yak-130 Russia jet trainer 16 on order[16]
L-410 Czech Republic transport trainer 3[11]
Bell 206 United States trainer 6[16]

Guided weapons

Name Version Type Used by Notes
PL-2 Infrared Guided Air-to-air missile F-7MB, F-7BG, F-7BGI
PL-5 E Active Infrared Guided Air-to-air missile F-7MB, F-7BG, F-7BGI
PL-7 Infrared Guided Air-to-air missile F-7MB, F-7BG, F-7BGI PRC version of the French Matra Magic R.550 missile.
PL-9 C Infrared Guided Air-to-air missile F-7MB, F-7BG, F-7BGI
LT-2 Laser Guided Bomb F-7MB, F-7BG, F-7BGI
LS-6 Satellite Guided Bomb F-7MB, F-7BG, F-7BGI
Vympel R-73 Infrared Guided Air-to-air missile MiG-29
Vympel R-27 BVR Air-to-air missile MiG-29
FM-90 Surface-to-air missile Ground Based Air Defence[17]

Future modernization program

The BAF has an ongoing modernization program under Forces Goal 2030 to become a strong force to defend the sky of Bangladesh. It has plans to acquire both modern aircraft and air defence capabilities.

The BAF also ordered a total of 16 Yakovlev Yak-130 Lead-in fighter trainer and 5 Mi-171SH attack helicopters from Russia.[18] Four Mi-171SH have been already delivered and rest helicopter is expected to be delivered by 2015.[11] Besides, Gamma-DE and Kasta 2E RADAR are also ordered from Russia.

Recently the prime minister of Bangladesh declared that Bangladesh Air Force will be turned into a strategically and technically sound, strong, and capable force through its further modernisation by 2021, the Golden Jubilee of the country's independence.[19] She stated that the aging fleet of Nanchang PT-6 basic trainers will be replaced by new PT-6s.[20]

Bangladesh is also negotiating with the US government for the regeneration, overhaul, modifications and logistics support for four off-the-shelf Lockheed Martin C-130Es, 20 engines and associated parts, equipment, and training for an estimated cost of $180 million.[21]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Ministry of Defense Gazette Notification No.8/25/D-1/72-1378, Dated 15 December 1973
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b c
  11. ^ a b c
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^

External links

  • Official Website of Bangladesh Air Force
  • Bangladesh Air Force Overview
  • Bangladesh Air Force Gallery
  • Official Gallery of Bangladesh Air Force
  • Bangladesh Air Force Order of Battle Courtesy of Scramble
  • Bangladesh Defence
  • Bangladesh National Cadet Corps (BNCC)
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