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POST TIME: 9 October, 2018 12:33:55 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 9 October, 2018 12:14:50 PM
Russian copters to turn BGB into 3-dimensional force
Two 26-seater MI-171E military helicopters to be purchased for the BGB air wing at a cost of Tk 355.10cr each
DEEPAK ACHARJEE

Russian copters to turn BGB into 3-dimensional force

The government is going to purchase two MI-171E helicopters from Russia for the air wing of the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB). The BGB will become a three-dimensional force (operating on land, water and air) after the helicopters are purchased at a cost of Tk. 355.10 crore each. The 26-seater military choppers would be purchased from the state-run manufacturing company JSC Russian Helicopters under a government-to-government (G2G) deal, home ministry sources said. A BGB technical committee has assessed the proposal to buy the two helicopters and submitted its report to the authorities concerned. A senior home ministry official told The Independent that the proposal to procure the two helicopters would now be placed at the next meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on October 10 for approval.

In the proposal, the secretary of the Public Security Division, Mostafa Kamal Uddin, mentioned that the two air-conditioned helicopters would be purchased to transport troops, carry goods, conduct rescue operations and surveillance in remote and inaccessible regions and border areas.

“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has given her consent to procure the military helicopters, whose airframe life will be 30 years. Since the helicopters would be purchased under a G2G deal, it would need approval from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs,” the proposal noted.

“A high-powered delegation led by home minister Asaduzzaman Khan had visited the aviation plant and headquarters of JSC Russian Helicopters in October last year,” the proposal said.

According to the technical specifications, the MI-171E helicopter is designed to fly in adverse weather conditions and is also equipped for special night-time operations.

The flight controls and on-board equipment make the helicopter highly effective during missions in mountainous regions and in hot climates.

The helicopter is also equipped with a ground proximity warning system (GPWS), which alerts the crew to the proximity of obstacles, or ground or water, in order to avoid collisions.

The cabin offers an internal volume of 23m³ and integrates an optimal seating layout for carrying up to 26 passengers. It can also be configured to accommodate up to 12 wounded personnel on stretchers attended by medical personnel. The cargo variant can transport up to 4,000kg of cargo inside the cabin or on external sling.

The VIP versions are installed with soft leather-wrapped armchairs and furniture made of fine wood. The cabin also integrates an improved sound and vibration insulation, and a new multimedia system with large-sized displays and audio controls.

Sources said the BGB has already set up an aviation wing at Baitul Ijjat in Bandarban district, aiming to combat cross-border terrorism and ensuring

security along a 400-km stretch of unguarded border with the neighbouring country. A total of 84 posts in different categories, including that of a deputy director-general and seven posts of directors, were created recently to run the aviation wing of the border force.

According to sources, there are 154 border outposts (BOPs), including 78 heli-supported BOPs, in different areas of Chittagong. Another 61 BOPs would be set up in the Chittagong Hill Tracts areas. It will need heli-supports to carry rations and provide other support to the BOPs. That is why at least two helicopters would be needed urgently.

At present, the Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) helicopters support the border force to transport the required materials to the BOPs in Chittagong Hill Tracts. However, the BAF sometimes fail to provide helicopter support in time.

The BGB is a paramilitary force that is entrusted to defend the 4,427-km-long border of the country.

MK