Friday, November 19, 2010

Bangladesh Navy to procure submarine, patrol aircraft

As per government decision to form a three-dimensional blue water navy through procuring surface, submarine and aircraft the Bangladesh Navy will procure four submarines and two maritime patrol aircraft (MPA’s) to protect Bangladesh’s maritime territory and resources at any cost.

The Bangladesh Navy will purchase a submarine and two maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) soon apart from other naval weapons systems to enhance the Navy’s capabilities.

Sources say the government could have been alarmed by recent illegal gas and oil exploration activities carried out by Indian and Myanmar inside Bangladesh’s sovereign maritime area. India started exploration on 18,000 sq km territory, while Myanmar carried out survey on a 17,000 sq km area.

Training for the submarine has already begun and Bangladeshi naval personnel have already been imparted with some necessary training and additional training will follow.

A single conventional diesel-electric powered submarine will be procured immediately soon. The submarines are designed for anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW) and are also capable of general reconnaissance, water mine laying and patrol missions.

Also two American made maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) will be procured by the Bangladesh Navy at a cost of 130 crore taka. A Singapore based company called King Air is supplying these aircraft. The MPA’s feature a maximum cruising speed of of 315 kts, maximum range of 1,813 nautical miles, Four prop, twin Pratt & Whitney PT6A-60 engines, certified to land at its full 15,000-pound takeoff weight, 2,850-pound special mission payload, on-station endurance of seven hours, operational ceiling of 35,000 feet, takeoff length is 3,300 feet; landing distance of 2,692 feet under standard sea level conditions, drop and monitor sonobuoys, fully certified for grass and gravel field operations, special performance supplements for takeoff and landing operations above 10,000 feet MSL and ISA + 30o C outside air temperature, 360-degree search radar, long-range and tactical navigation, audio/interphone, maritime communications, HF communications, hand-held camera with data annotation, FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared), low-light TV, direction-finding systems, ESM system, data recording, observation window for visual search or photography and drop hatch for airdrops of survival/rescue equipment.

Sources said that the world considers MPA as the fastest and most reliable platform to monitor maritime territories. The operating cost of MPA’s is also significantly lower than naval patrol ships.

Bangladesh has 44,000 square miles of maritime area. A navy ship takes three days and three nights to monitor such a huge area. Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) can do this task in 2 to 3 hours, they mentioned.

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