BANGLADESH NAVY TO RECEIVE K-8W, MI-171SH AIRCRAFT
Ridzwan Rahmat, Singapore – IHS Jane’s Navy International
The Bangladesh Navy will take delivery of nine K-8W training aircraft from China by the end of 2014, Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives, Sayed Ashraful Islam said.
The minister, who is also responsible for defence affairs, was responding to questions tabled in parliament regarding Bangladesh’s defence procurements and measures taken to safeguard its territorial waters.
The K-8W aircraft, that will be used to train pilots at the naval aviation command in Chittagong, were ordered under a undisclosed-value 2013 contract with China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC). The K-8W is an upgraded version of the JL-8 trainer, with a digital fly-by-wire aircraft flight control system and improved heads-up display capability. The aircraft is currently is service with the Bolivian and Venezuelan air forces.
Besides the K-8W aircraft, the Bangladesh Navy is also anticipating the delivery of five Mi-171Sh multirole medium helicopters. According to the minister’s statement, the aircraft were procured from Russia under a ‘state export credit’ arrangement and are likely to be inducted by 2015. The helicopters are said to be intended for maritime surveillance and search-and-rescue operations.
The minister described this development as bolstering Bangladesh’s naval capabilities, and indicated that the navy will continue to strengthen its naval aviation command with possible future acquisitions.
The Bangladesh Navy established a naval aviation command in July 2011 to strengthen its maritime capabilities, with an initial force of two AgustaWestland AW109 helicopters. Since then, it has taken delivery of two Dornier 228 NG maritime patrol aircraft and is now awaiting the delivery of three Harbin Z-9 helicopters from China, and the five Russian Mi-171Sh helicopters.
The delivery of nine K-8W trainers may also signal the navy’s intent of ultimately operating jet-powered fixed-wing aircraft.
AUGUST 02, 2014