defence procurement og Bangladesh 2009

The government yesterday unveiled its plans and ongoing processes of purchasing weapons of war and armoured vehicles to enhance and consolidate combat proficiency of Bangladesh Army, Navy and Air Force.

Planning Minister Air Vice Marshal (retd) AK Khandker, also in charge of the defence ministry in parliamentary affairs, yesterday notified the parliament about the government's plans and on going processes for the purchase.

He said the government has planned to buy various weapons of war and combat vehicles in the current fiscal year as part of its 10-year-long development plan for the armed forces.

Efforts have been made to purchase seven tanks and one armoured recovery vehicle for army, and 80 armoured vehicles, five armoured recovery vehicles, five armoured ambulances and two helicopters for UN peacekeeping mission, added Khandker.

"Besides, the government has approved in principle and allocated necessary funds to double the capacity of Bangladesh Ordnance Factory to produce ammunition for small arms," said the planning minister in reply to a written query from BNP lawmaker Harunur Rashid.

He said, the process of purchasing two maritime patrol aircraft through international tender and building of five patrol craft at Khulna shipyard is underway. The decision on building or purchasing two large patrol craft, a hydrographic survey vessel and one oil tanker at local or foreign shipyard is also under consideration.

In addition, the government has planned to purchase one or two old frigates for navy from other countries under government to government deal, he said, adding that process of purchasing of offshore patrol vessel from UK navy and a large patrol craft are progressing.

"The government also has plans to upgrade missile boats and patrol crafts with modern missiles to improve the combat efficiency of navy," he said.

On modernising the air force Khandker said the government has a scheme to purchase a fighter squadron, air-to-air missiles, one surface-to-air missile system, one air defence radar and two helicopters in the current fiscal year.

In reply to AL lawmaker Israfil Alam's query, the planning minister also placed a report on the armed forces' previous five years' expenditure on medical and training purposes through military medical service directorate.

According to the report, since fiscal year 2005-06 Tk 338.03 crore was spent on medical purpose while Tk 1.35 crore on training.

In response to a query from Jatiya Party lawmaker MA Jabber, the planning minister said the government has a plan to set up a women's cadet college in Gopalganj or in Khulna or Bagerhat depending on availability of land and fund.

In recent years Bangladesh has embarked on a large scale defense upgrading process.
For the first time in the Country's history record high amounts have been allocated for Procurement of weaponry, especially in the new budget for 2010-2011 which was declared a few weeks ago.
The military is in the middle of large scale purchases and forming of new elite units.
In 2010 2 F-22B class missile Frigates were ordered by the PM on her recent visit to China, 2 Castle class OPVs were commissioned, a new hydro-graphic survey ship was bought and other frigates and FACMs were upgraded with new Chinese anti shipping and anti aircraft missiles. The Khulna Shipping Yard operated by the Navy started producing patrol boats and getting upgraded to build Missile guided corvettes, New helicopters were ordered and the Navy crew are getting trained on how to operate submarines. The target is to get the Navy o be a three dimensional force by 2021.
Also the Air force is going to induct more Mig-29s and is getting ready to purchase 3 squadrons of new air defense fighters(rumour has it Mig-35s, or Su-30/27/35) . new attack and utility helicopters are getting purchased as well as new transport air craft. Third generation SAMs are being ordered as well as new radar stations( the Govt is in the middleof talks for purchasing BUK-M1)
The army has bought 7 tanks(Yatagans and Type-96Gs) for field testing, 300-500 units of the chosen tank will be purchased. This year another 200 APCs were ordered(mainly BTR-80s) we already operate over a thousand BTR-80s. the new BD-08 assault rifle(Upgraded copy of Chinese TYpe-81 ) is rolling out of the prouction lines. the army's ordance factories have started producing artillery and mortar shells and and they also produce 2000 QW-2 anti air craft missiles annually. The BOF is getting upgraded to be able to produce rockets for our existing and future multi barrel roccket launchers. Large numbers of type 88(PLZ-45) self propelled howitzers have been ordered.
And finally a long cherished dream of the navy was fulfilled when the SWADS(special war fare and diving and salvaging) came into being. for the first time our navy has an elite unit which is considered the best of its type in south asia.

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