In the world today, continuous development of the armed forces is the key for any country to survive without being assaulted by the foreign powers. Bangladesh is no stranger to this process. The country that came into existence in 1971 after a long and tensed battle, understands the need for development and strength very well.
That is why, Bangladesh’s Director General for Defence Purchases (DGDP) have sanctioned a modernisation goal called the “Forces Goal 2030”, under which they aim to completely modernise the wings of their military forces. Under this plan, Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) has recently released a tender to buy Eight Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MRCA) in the current 2017-2018 financial year. The tender also leaves an option for another four aircraft to be purchased in the future.
Once the purchase is completed the strength of the Bangladesh military is expected to be increased by manifolds. The MRCAs will increase the defensibility of the country against any foreign aerial threat whereas they will also play a pivotal role in the offensive counter aerial operations, maritime aerial operations and the anti-surface role for assisting the Bangladesh Navy and Bangladesh Army in war.
A quick look at the tender document implies that the Bangladesh Air Force is aiming for the newly introduced MiG-35. Hence, they have tailored made the specifications in order to lure Russia for bidding and supplying them with what they are exactly eyeing for. But what specifications and instructions do the BAF has included in the tender? Well, in order to know that you need to go through the tender document once; so let’s get it done.
In the tender document, the BAF has included a section which reads “essential requirement” under which they have included all the features or specifications that they require for their multirole combat aircraft. There several operational and technical features added under the section which defines the want of the Bangladesh Air Force.
The very first thing that the Bangladesh Air Force asks for all the multirole combat aircraft is that they must be able to serve in all weather conditions at any time during day or night with the same efficiency. Secondly, the Bangladesh Air Force needs their MRCAs to have a high speed, acceleration as well as deceleration abilities since that is the primary requirement for most of the missions.
As per the requirement of the BAF, the aircraft must have at least a speed of Mach 1.6 at an altitude of forty thousand feet whereas the maximum speed of the aircraft when hovering just above the sea level must not be below Mach 0.8. According to the requirements of the Bangladesh Air Force as stated in the tender document, the multirole combat aircraft need to have manoeuvring speed of at least 300KPH whereas the minimum stalling speed must have to be 200KPH.
Moreover, the control system of the aircraft must be FBW or Fly by Wire with the provision of carefree handling in all kinds of configurations that are expected. The Bangladesh Air Force has provided clear instructions that the aircraft, its engine and other components must be newly manufactured and should not be more than a year old. The aircraft should be designed in such a way that it should be able to withstand the impact from supersonic speed during all weather conditions. Basically, BAF wants their aircraft to be able to fly in supersonic speed in any weather condition. The aircraft must have a tricycle type of assemblies under the carriage and they must have single or multiple air brakes in order to endow the aircraft with a high rate of deceleration.
As per as the structural vigour and aircraft life is concerned, the aircraft must have an operating G limit within a range of +8G to -3G or it can be even better. And the aircraft must have a lifespan of at least 30 years. Moreover, the BAF requires their aircraft to have a twin engine design with each of the power plants being able to supply a dry thrust of 5500kg whereas the thrust supplied with after burn must be at least 8000 kg. However, the aircraft are required to have eight hard points with a maximum payload of 5000 kg.
The tender document clearly instructs that the aircraft must have all the electronic abilities that a highly advanced modern day aircraft must have. From electronically-scanned array radar to electronic warfare and countermeasure suite to infrared search and track (IRST) to head-up display (HUD) and helmet mounted display and sight (HMD/S), the aircraft must have to be well equipped with all the highly advanced electronic systems.
Though the newly developed MiG-35 of Russia matches the needs of the BAF as listed in the tender document but the United Aircraft Corporation or UAC’s Su-35 and Su-30SM are also leading contenders in the bid as they are getting a special makeover just for the BAF bidding. With these aircraft, BAF seeks to hold its own in this high technologically threatened environment.