The Bangladesh Air Force was officially constitutef in 1972 after Bangladesh’s War of Independence. It started with a few left over aircrafts and equipments of the Pakistan Air Force (mostly F-86 Sabres) augmented by other donated equipment from India (C-47 Dakotas, DHC-3s and Aloutte Helicopters). In spite of the lack of equipment, the nascent Bangladesh Air Force had a good number of well-trained pilots who were in the Pakistan Air Force and had distinguished themsleves in combat.
Currently the Air Force is mostly equipped with Chinese Air Craft – A-5s and F-7s. It has recently acquired some Mig-29s from Russia.
There are 3 airbases:
- Bashar AB (Kurmitola and Tejgaon) near the capital Dhaka.
- Zahurul Haque AB in Chittagong.
- Matiur Rahman AB at Jessore.
Current personnel strength is around 9800 and their are 12 operational squadrons.
- 2 X Squardrons of F-7MB fighters.
- 1X Squadron of FT-6/A-5IIIA fighter-bombers.
- 1X Squadron of Mig-29 muti-role fighters.
- 1X Squadron of L-39 ZA light combat aircraft.
- 1X Squadron of T-37 Jet Trainer aircraft.
- 1X Squadron of PT-6 Basic Trainer aircraft.
- 1X Squadron of An-32 transport aircraft.
- 1X Squadron of C-130/Mi-17/Bell-212 for VIP/VVIP flying.
- 1X Squadron of Bell-212 helicopter.
- 1 X Squadron of Mi-17 helicopter.
- 1X Squadron of Bell-206 helicopter.
In addition BAF has contingents deployed to the Democratic Republic of Congo and East Timor with Mi-17 and Bell-212 helicopters respectively.