Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday inaugurated the Air Force Base Bangabandhu at Kurmitola, opening up a “new horizon in building a modern, professional, effective and well-disciplined armed forces”.
“I hope that Air Force Base Bangabandhu would initiate a new horizon in materialising the dreams of Bangabandhu to build a modern, professional, effective and well-disciplined armed force,” she said at the inaugural function, BSS Dhaka reported.
The pm also expressed hope that with the setting up of the base, effectiveness and capacity of the air force would get a new dimension in protecting air space and national interest of the country.
Hasina said the base, which is the centre of the heart of Bangladesh Air Force, has been performing its responsibility for protecting the country through inadequate infrastructure and hiring manpower from other bases.
But with the fresh set up of this base, she said, the pressure on other baf bases would be reduced to a great extent.
The inauguration of new air base coincided the induction of the most modern F-7BG1 fighter planes and MI-171SH helicopters in the force.
Hasina took salute of a smartly-turned out parade arranged in connection with the ceremony.
After the parade, a colourful fly-past of various baf aircraft and an aerobatic show of the newly-inducted F-7BG1 aircraft were held. The pm also witnessed the static display of the newly-inducted aircraft and helicopter.
On her arrival at Base Bangabandhu, Hasina was received by Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Moahhammad Enamul Bari and Air Officer Commanding of the base Air Commodore Ehsanul Gani Choudhury.
Members of the cabinet, advisers to the pm, the Chinese ambassador in Dhaka, chiefs of Bangladesh Army and Bangladesh Navy as well as high civil and military officials were present on the occasion.
The prime minister said with the induction of new fighter planes and helicopters, the operation capacity and professional efficiency of the air force would further increase.
“It is our commitment to you that despite resource constraints, our government will not hesitate to provide all possible assistance,” she said.
The pm said as part of the steps to modernise the air force, the past Awami League government had inducted the fourth generation MiG-29 fighter planes, superior C-130 transport planes and high-powered air defence radar.
She said the surface-to-air missile, the first in the country, has already been inducted in the air force to strengthen the air defence system, while setting up of Bangabandhu Aeronautical Centre for smooth and cost-effective maintenance of fighter planes and other equipment is an epoch-making and timely step.
Hasina said the members of the air force are bringing pride and praise for the country and the nation by participating in the un peacekeeping mission.
Stressing the need for watching the air space of the exclusive economic zone of the country’s maritime boundary, Hasina said the government has set up a new air base in Cox’s Bazar for this.
“Steps have been taken to establish an air defence radar in the air base, and in its continuation, purchase of transport trainers and maritime search and rescue and jet trainer planes is under process,” she added.
She also said the government has a plan to procure training fighter planes, helicopters and air defence radar through an agreement with Russia.