Bangladesh Navy will acquire locally made Drone (UAV)
|A Naval Fire Scout UAV of US Navy|
Producing and using drones as air targets will significantly reduce costs, increase accuracy in air target shooting and boost air defence systems, especially in the Bay, which has become strategically important following Bangladesh winning a maritime boundary case against Myanmar in 2012.
Bangladesh got 111,000 square kilometres and full authority in a 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone in the Bay.
“We have developed our own drones and started using those as targets in the air for accurate firing,” Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral M Farid Habib said recently at the BNS Bangabandhu after concluding the force's 16-day annual exercise in the Bay.
“We will build many drones. We have just started building the vehicles. There are cameras in the drones to send photographs so that we can monitor fishing trawlers or any unauthorised ships in our jurisdiction,” he said.
Earlier, the navy had to import drone-like devices from abroad at a minimum of Tk 15 million each to use as air targets. “But now we are making them at home by spending only Tk 1 lakh,” added the navy chief.
Two classes of the drones built by the navy can fly for about an hour.
“Considering the country's economy, we are taking a balanced approach in modernising the navy to ensure security of the region [sea area],” he observed.
A source in the navy said the first flight of a sophisticated surveillance drone, all made by the navy, would take place sometime this month and gradually a few other modern drones will be added to the service.
As part of the force's strengthening process, the navy has already placed work orders for two modern submarines to China. The submarines, which are expected to join the fleet by the middle and end of next year, will further intensify surveillance in the Bay and enhance the force's combat capability.
The navy chief said the navy would turn into a three-dimensional force once the submarines join the fleet.
The prime minister on March 1 commissioned two frigates bought from China for the naval force.
The navy has also ordered two corvettes, which are warships smaller than a frigate, from China and are building two other corvettes in the country. The four warships will be added to the navy this year. The number of warships might increase next year from four to six, the navy chief hinted.
Already two German patrol aircraft and two Italian helicopters have been added to the navy last year.
The force has already built five patrol craft at the Khulna Shipyard and will build larger patrol craft soon to keep constant watch over the Bay.
“We are advancing, keeping in mind Forces' Goal-2030. We hope that we will be able to develop a balanced naval force in the next five to 10 years when it will turn into a three-dimensional force with more helicopters, aircraft and submarines,” the navy chief said.
He added, “Hopefully we'll be able to become a strong naval force in the world in future when we have more manpower, new bases and warships and our equipment is modernised and new missiles are added to our ships.”
|MQ-8 Drone in Naval Combat|