A delegation from the Bangladesh Navy will grace the International Maritime Defence Show (IMDS 2021). The exhibition will be held from 23 to 27 July 2021 in St. Petersburg, Russia to exhibit primarily Russian made naval products, in which Rosoboronexport invited delegations from more than 70 countries including from neighbouring countries of Bangladesh.
During the exhibition Rosoboronexport will showcase a number of key products under its portfolio including:
- Project 22800 corvette (export version – Project 22800E Karakurt-E): It is comparable in firepower to a frigate and equipped with the Club-N integrated missile system and the Pantsir-ME multi-channel anti-aircraft gun/missile system.
- Rubezh-ME coastal defense missile system: It enables a single launcher vehicle to search and engage a target by integrating weapon and target designation subsystems into a single platform. A strike group consisting of up to eight launcher vehicles can also be formed.
- Project 677 diesel-electric submarine (export version – Project 677E Amur-1650): This design belongs to the latest generation of submarines and incorporates the most advanced technologies and materials. Its ammunition load includes Club-S missiles capable of engaging enemy ships and land targets, as well as torpedoes with a firing range of up to 50 kilometers.
- Project 22350 multi-purpose frigate (export version – Project 22356): Is a high-tech ship of the latest generation, perfectly adapted for operations in the far sea and ocean zone. Its armament suite includes a Club-N integrated missile system and a 130-mm A-192M gun system with a range of 22 km. Air defense is provided by a Rif-M multi-channel SAM system firing two types of medium-and short-range missiles, as well as by two Palma close-in weapon systems (CIWS). A Paket-E/NK small-sized anti-submarine torpedo system reliably protects the ship from attacking submarines and torpedoes.
- Project 22160 offshore patrol ship: Is excellently suited for patrolling vast sea and ocean areas, including those located at a considerable distance from the home base. The ship is equipped with deck-based helicopter and two unmanned aerial vehicles, an amphibious assault boat and high-speed motor boats. In wartime, the ship can be equipped with modular weapons and protect coastwise sea lanes, naval bases and sea areas.
- Project 12700 Alexandrit coastal minesweeper (export version – Project 12701): Is equipped with a state-of-the-art mine countermeasures system to search and neutralise mines ahead of its course and sweeps. It is able to effectively protect naval bases, the exclusive economic zone, ships and transports during sea passage, detect and destroy minefields, and conduct mine reconnaissance.
During the last IMDS exhibition, Bangladesh Navy officers were seen paying particular interest on the Amur 1650 diesel-electric submarines and the Project 22356 multi-purpose guided missile frigates. The Bangladesh Navy is also interested in the Pirhana-T midget submarines and the Rubezh-ME coastal defence missile system.
A senior delegation from the Myanmar Navy also visited the exhibition with keenness shown on Russian submarines.
Resumption of defence cooperation with Russia
Bangladesh and Russia Ministry of Defence officials have agreed to resume defence trade and technical military cooperation. It is expected the Bangladesh Armed Forces will purchase missile systems for MiG-29BM fighter aircraft for starters, followed up by possible acquisition of amphibious tanks and other land warfare systems.
While Russia has offered its prized naval technologies, to this present date there have never been any purchase of Russian-made naval hardware by the Bangladesh Navy.
Pending naval projects in Bangladesh
Present trends within Bangladesh indicate that Western-based defence technologies are being priorised for procurement. As a result many defence tenders have been cancelled or reworked to emphasise ‘NATO standard’ or ‘Western countries’ including Australia, Turkey, South Korea and Japan.
The Bangladesh Navy has a requirement to have six guided missile frigates built in its own shipyards, besides mine hunters, offshore patrol vessels, large patrol craft and amphibious warfare vessels.
Currently its shipyards in Narayanganj and Khulna are busy constructing auxiliary and patrol vessels. Its Chattogram shipyard is being prepared for building guided missile frigates, for which a decision will be made before the end of 2021.