BAF to get more MI helicopters, combat training aircraft soon: PM
JESSORE, Dec 31, 2014 Nirapad News : Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said five new MI-171 helicopters, nine basic training and 16 combat training aircraft would be added to Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) fleet soon to build the BAF as a strong and efficient force.
Noting that the present government is pledge-bound to maintain the continuation of the development of the BAF, she also said: “In the golden jubilee of independence, we would establish Bangladesh Air Force as a strong and efficient force strategically Insha Allah by its further modernization.”
Sheikh Hasina said the Awami League government always gave special importance to the development of Bangladesh Air Force and welfare of its members. “We are determined to maintain the continuation of the development,” she said.
In this connection, the Prime Minister mentioned that the present government has signed agreements for purchasing five new MI-171 helicopters, nine basic training aircraft, three transport training aircraft, two maritime search and rescue helicopters and 16 combat training aircraft.
“These would be added to the air force fleet soon,” she said.
The Prime Minister said this while addressing the Winter President Parade of 70 Flight Cadet Course (FCC) of Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) at BAF Academy here this morning.
Earlier, the Prime Minister reviewed the smartly turned-out parade and took salute at the impressive March past as the chief guest. She also handed over trophies, certificates and flying badges among the flight cadets.
On her arrival at the BAF Academy Parade Ground, the Prime Minister was received by Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Muhammad Enamul Bari and Commandant of BAF Academy Air Commodore M Sayed Hossain.
Among others, ministers, parliament members, chief of Naval Staff, diplomats, high civil and military officials, local dignitaries and guardians of the flight cadets were also present.
Flight Cadet Wing Under Officer Dhrubo Sarker commanded the parade which was followed by a spectacular flypast of different aircraft of BAF Academy.
The Prime Minister called upon the newly-commissioned officers of Bangladesh Air Force to perform their great responsibility for safeguarding the hard-earned independence of the country.
She said Bangladesh Air Force is a radiant with the divine grace of sacrifice of numerous heroes like Birshreshtha Shaheed Flight Lieutenant Motiur Rahman and Shaheed Sergeant Zahurul Haque.
“It is now your responsibility to protect the hard-earned independence as their followers. You will have to continue to perform this great task being imbued with the spirit of true patriotism,” she added.
The Prime Minister also urged the newly-commissioned officers of the Bangladesh Air Force to reflect their firm commitment to “Keep Free the Sky of Bangla” in their work and thinking.
“Besides, you will have to keep in mind the history of sacrifice and struggle of millions of lives for independence,” she said.
Mentioning that newly-commissioned officers are the future leaders of the air force, the Prime Minister said they will have to build themselves as able successors of the force.
“You will have to utilize properly the every precious resource and see the welfare of the colleagues and subordinates with utmost importance and sympathy. It is our expectation that you would build Sonar Bangla as dreamt by Bangbandhu by following his ideals,” she said.
Noting that Bangladesh Air Force has a glorious history, Sheikh Hasina said the BAF members without necessary equipment conducted courageous operation against the invading force during the War of Liberation with only an Alouette helicopter, a DC-3 and an Otter aircraft.
The Prime Minister said the brave pilots of Bangladesh Air Force first hit successfully on the establishments of the enemy by entering the Bangladesh’s air space.
“The BAF carried out over 40 successful operations through only one Alouette chopper and an Otter aircraft which was a sign of extraordinary efficiency of our pilots,” she said.
During the great War of Liberation, she said, the air force officials had performed important responsibilities like sector commander. “The nation would ever-remember this courageous contribution of the air force members,” she said.
The Prime Minister said a strong, professional and modern air force is a must for safeguarding the country’s independence and sovereignty. Realizing this, she said, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had taken initiatives to build an efficient and all round air force immediately after independence despite economic constraints.
“Bangabandhu had established some important establishments for the air force within very short time and procured modern arms and ammunition from abroad,” she said.
The Prime Minister said whenever Awami League formed government, it made contribution to the development of air force following the footprint of the Father of the Nation.
“In 1996, we had inducted fourth generation fighter planes MiG-29 and C-30 transport planes and high-powered air defence Radar in the air force,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the Awami League government after assuming office in 2009 implemented various programmes for the development of the air force.
“F-7 BG-1 fighter planes, MI-171 SH helicopters, ultramodern air defence missiles have been added to the air force and Banngabandhu Air Base and Cox’s Bazar Air Base have emerged as full-fledged bases,” she said.
The Prime Minister said surface to air missile system has been inducted in the air force for the first time, while a new high-powered air defence Radar has been set up in Cox’s Bazar for watching the exclusive economic zone of the maritime boundary.
“We have set up a helicopter overhauling plant in Dhaka, while Bangabandhu Aeronautical Centre has been established in the BAF Base Bangabandhu,” she said.
She said Jet trainer K-8W aircraft which has been brought from China this year started its training activities and the work on constructing Bangabandhu Complex in the air force academy with modern facilities is going fast to strengthen the training activities.
Sheikh Hasina said the duration of the training for the officer cadets of the BAF Academy is going to be increased to three years from January in the light of the National Education Policy 2010.
The Prime Minister said her government has increased the status of the members of three services and the number of air force members in the UN Peacekeeping Missions is being raised.
Thanks to setting up new units in the air force, she said, the manpower is being increased, paving the way for the promotion.
The Prime Minister said the air force members are working tirelessly to face natural disasters like flood, cyclone and tidal surge side by side with ensuring national security.
“They are going to different countries like Japan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, China, India and the Maldives with the message of sympathy,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the capability of the air force is being gradually increased due to induction of new aircraft and helicopters under the Forces Goal-2030.
“The integrity and professionalism of the air force in establishing global peace earned praises of the world leaders,” she said.
With today’s Winter President Parade, a total of 42 flight cadets including 27 flight cadets from 70 Flight Cadet Course and 15 flight cadets from 14 SSC and SPSSC were commissioned. Among them six were female cadets.
Flight Cadet Wing Under Officer Dhrubo Sarker of 70 FCC was presented with the coveted “Sword of Honour” and “Commandant Trophy” for his best all round performance and General Service Training respectively.
Flight Cadet Md Ishtiaque Nafiz Chowdhury received “Birshreshtha Matiur Rahman Trophy” for his best performance in Flying Academy, while Flight Cadet Sergeant Sangeet Tarafder received “Chief of Air Staff Trophy” for his best all round performance in Ground Batch.
Number 2 Squadron was adjudged the “Champion Squadron” and was awarded Academy Colour for overall performance.