Bangladesh Air Force
Bangladesh Air Force had its origin from the Pakistan Air Force. Most of the Bangali members of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) stationed in East Pakistan deserted it and joined the war of liberation. It was they who organised the Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) which was launched formally by the mujibnagar government on 8 October 1971.
After the partition of India in 1947, the planes and other assets of the Royal Indian Air Force were divided between India and Pakistan. Pakistan got the maximum benefit of the division of the Indian Air Force in the sense that almost all the training establishments of the Air Force were located in Pakistan. Almost all Muslim airmen opted for Pakistan and became PAF personnel. Among them were some Bangali airmen who, in fact, formed the nucleus of the Bangali elements in the PAF. After the liberation of Bangladesh the Bangali PAF personnel were stranded in Pakistan. They were however released and repatriated to Bangladesh by December 1973 according to the spirit of the simla agreement. All of them were allowed to join the BAF who reorganised it as a modern air force. The earliest organisers of the BAF were AK Khondoker, MG Towab, Khademul Bashar, and AG Mahmood. In its early phase, the BAF lost in two air accidents (12 July 1976 and 1 September 1976) some of its most experienced and brightest airmen including air vice marshal m khademul bashar. There were also several fighter aircraft and helicopter crashes. The loss of many pioneer leaders of the BAF in a succession of air crashes had a traumatic effect on the rebuilding processes of the air defence system of the new born country. But it soon recovered from its early frightful experiences.
The BAF started its journey with one Dakota, one Otter and a Alouette helicopter. Its staff consisted initially of 17 defected officers and 50 technical airmen headed by Air Cdr. AK Khondoker. During the last phase of the liberation war, the BAF had successfully carried out attacks on 12 missions over Pak targets. Now BAF possesses a few Mig-29 aircrafts and C-130 paratroopers.
There are several training institutes for grooming BAF pilots and other aeronautical personnel. In BAF Academy, airforce pilots receive training for two and a half years in five phases. On successful completion of training, each pilot is awarded graduation (BSc, Aero) from the National University. At the Flying Instructors School, potential flying instructors are given 22- weeks training on flying. At the Flight Safety Institute, pilots and other airmen are given training for a period ranging from three to twelve weeks on flight safety. At the Officers Training School, officers of ground branches except Degree Engineers are given professional training for six to nine months. At present, BAF Academy runs the BSc Engineering Course for BAF aeronautical engineers. The diploma of this course is awarded by the National University. Officers of higher rank are sent to Staff College and National Defence College for higher professional training. At the Recruits Training School, airmen of all branches initially are given instructions for 36 weeks. On successful completion of the training, they receive further instructions on aeronautical engineering and other trades. Advanced courses on aeronautical and other air-force technical trades are equivalent to the diploma awarded by the Associate Engineers of the Technical Education Board of Bangladesh. At present, instructors of Recruits Training School are trained in the same institution and in other BAF training centres. This institution also runs Senior Technical Management Course and other courses.
Every year a certain number of airmen of commissioned and non/junior commissioned status is recruited. Branches of Bangladesh Air Force are GD(P)/ GD(N), Maintenance Technical Engineering, Maintenance Technical Communication and Electronics, Maintenance Technical Armament, Logistic, Administrative, Air Traffic Control, Education, Legal, Accounts, Meteorology, MODC (Air) etc. Ranks of commissioned officers ascend as follows: Pilot Officer, Flying Officer, Flight Lieutenant, Squadron Leader, Wing Commander, Group Captain, Air Commodore, Air Vice Marshal, and Marshall of the Air Force. [Syed Mohd. Saleh Uddin]