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Bangladesh - Air Force

The Bangladesh Air Force, descended from the Pakistan Air Force, had a 1988 personnel strength of 5,000, including more than 400 officers, of whom about 175 were pilots. Like the navy, it started from humble beginnings, inheriting destroyed aircraft, damaged runways, looted stores, and neutralized maintenance facilities. After its formation as a separate service in April 1972, the air force acquired various fighters and transport aircraft from the Soviet Union. The Soviets also trained some air force pilots. Following the political turmoil of the mid-1970s, the air force looked to China for the bulk of its aircraft, as well as for training.

The air force's main operating base and headquarters were in Dhaka. Other air force bases were located at Jessore, also the site of the Bangladesh Air Force Academy, and Chittagong. Small satellite airfields, all of which doubled as civilian airports, were dispersed throughout the country. The government-owned passenger airline, Biman Bangladesh Airlines, could also be considered an air force asset during emergencies. Aside from conducting relief operations, the air force's main mission was to transport troops and equipment to isolated army outposts in the tribal insurgent belt in the Chittagong Hills.

During three years 2009-2011, as a part of air defence, Bangladesh Air Force successfully completed 62,349 flying hours to ensure security of Bangladesh air and to train the pilots. Purchase of planes, radar missile and related equipment included replacement of 16 fighter planes, 16 training planes, 2 transport planes, 6 attack helicopters, 2 MI series helicopters, 3 Cresco planes and bale helicopters, as well as purchase of 1 SHORAD system and 4 air defence radars for commissioning in different Bases.

In the same period, the defence radars of the air forces completed 49,464 hours of air observation. A total of 8,774 officers and air force pilots received higher training locally and abroad. During the same period 1,200 officers and air force soldiers participated in the UNO Peace Keeping Mission and achieved 7,814 flying hours through various helicopters and transport planes. In order to assist the civil administration in tackling national disaster, the air force successfully completed 258 missions in the remote areas and distributed 740 metric ton of relief to the affected areas.

The members of Bangladesh Air Force have a role in assisting different national elections of Bangladesh. People of all walks of life applauded the performance of the personnel of Bangladesh Air Force in the Parliamentary Elections. Medical teams of Bangladesh Air Force always extend cooperation and helping hand to the people affected by different natural calamities like flood, cyclone, tidal serge etc. Traffic Jam in Dhaka city is a severe problem for the city dwellers. The members of Bangladesh Air Force, along side the traffic police, participate in easing the problem in the busy thoroughfares of the capital.

Bangladesh Air Force Women's Welfare Association was established in 1977 to improve the social, cultural, educational and other welfare oriented aspects of its family members. This welfare body generates employment opportunity for the family members through various vocational courses like cutting, knitting, embroidery, confectionery, cooking etc. As a result, the members of Bangladesh Air Force are not only financially benefited; they are also contributing significantly to eradicate the national unemployment problem. Besides, this welfare body extends its helping hand to the destitute during the time of need.

Bangladesh Government is always determined for expanding quantitative and qualitative aspects of education at national level. Bangladesh Air Force is also putting its best as a concurrent agent for implementing the decision of the government. The BAF Shaheen schools and colleges are providing quality education to the students in order to make them competent persons so that they can shoulder greater responsibility in future. The quality education is not only confined to the book-based curriculum, but also includes co-curricular activities so as to unveil the latent potentials of the blooming learners. Students of BAF Shaheen schools and colleges are not only achieving academic feat in different public examinations, they are also projecting their intellect and expertise in extra-curricular activities by participating in different national competitions on quiz, debate etc.

Bangladesh Air Force has also given utmost consideration for education right at the toddlers' level by establishing Golden Eagle Nursery in almost all its Bases. Even to comply with the demand of the time, Bangladesh Air Force has its English medium school named BAF SEMS located in Dhaka. The schools and colleges of Bangladesh Air Force are among those few reputed educational institutions in the country that are always showing very high standard in different public examinations. The result of the SSC Examination 2004 of BAF Shaheen schools and colleges is worth mentioning. The success rate of BAF Shaheen schools and colleges in the public examination was almost cent percent.

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