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Bangladesh Forces Goal 2023: Challenge from Diverse Sourcing

Bangladesh AF Courtesy AFD Bangladesh

The Forces Goal 2023 for modernization of the Bangladesh Armed Forces appears to be on stream however diverse sourcing of equipment from multiple sources may prove to be a challenge for operational integration as well as maintenance

25th Meeting of Standing Committee on Ministry of Defence was held on September 27, 2023, at the Cabinet Room, Bangladesh Parliament Building, Dhaka. At the meeting the Armed Forces Division (AFD) indicated that 23 types of modern combat equipment have been added to the Bangladesh Armed Forces in five years between 2018 and 2023 as per a report in the Daily Star Bangladesh.

This was in view of the Forces Goal-2023, which plans to modernise and enhance the capabilities of the army, navy and air force.

The equipment was procured from 12 countries while two types of equipment were made in Bangladesh.

This equipment included for the Army, China's Light Tank, Turkey's Armed Personnel Carrier (APC) and Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), Singapore's Automatic Grenade Launcher (AGL), Serbia and Turkey's Regimental Field Artillery Weapon System, Spain's Fixed Wing Medium Utility Aircraft, South Africa's Semi-Automatic Grenade Launcher (SAGL), Turkey's Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), and China's Surface to Air Missile (SAM) System.

For the Navy these include Khulna Shipyard- and China-made Patrol Craft (PC), Chinese frigate, various types of Chinese missiles and accessories, Italian utility helicopters, and Landing Craft Tank (LCT) made in Khulna Shipyard. However addition of two Chinese Kilo class submarines was not included in the list for reasons best known to the AFD.

Four types of combat equipment were added to the air force to include UK's MK-5 aircraft, France's air defense radar, Italy's Fixed Wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and Germany's primary trainer aircraft.

Modernization of the armed forces has been one of the critical goals of the Awami League government. This has been undertaken under the Forces Goal 2030 project first announced in 2012 and began in 2009 to modernize the Bangladesh Army, Navy, and Air Force to become a regional power in Asia.

Purchase of equipment from a variety of international players, however, is expected to result in dependencies with issues related to interoperability and maintenance.

While India has provided $ 500 million Line of Credit to Bangladesh for purchase of arms and munitions, it is apparent that no equipment has been inducted in the Bangladesh armed forces so far.


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