The Bangladesh Armed Forces Day 2019 was observed across Bangladesh, Bangladeshi embassies and military camps around the world to mark the immense sacrifices of members of the Bangladesh military in service of the nation. Each year 21 November is marked with various programs, prayers and festivities.
The Bangladesh Armed Forces are not only tasked to defend the nation, they are also involved in nation building programs, disaster management and empowerment of women.
The Bangladesh Armed Forces are moderning and expanding rapidly today in accordance with Forces Goal 2030.
Today, the Army numbering over 200,000 personnel is comprised of 10 infantry divisions. It is being transformed in to three corps level commands, namely the Eastern Corps, Central Corps and Western Corps. Each corps level formation is to be allocated three to four infantry divisions besides other brigade sized formations and smaller battalion or company level units directly under the command of the Corps Commander, a Lieutenant General ranked officer. Tanks, armoured fighting vehicles, artillery systems, aircraft, waterborne craft, communications equipment, Special Forces equipment and electronic warfare equipment are being purchased gradually to equip these newly raised units and modernise existing ones.
The Bangladesh Navy, which has over 23,000 personnel in its ranks is experiencing rapid growth to support Bangladesh’s economic rise attributed to foreign trade through maritime gateways of the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. The Navy has recently inducted several submarines and is purchasing more. It maintains a good number of surface combatants such as frigates, corvettes and missile armed attack craft. Its nascent aviation wing is being strengthened with the induction of fixed wing wide-bodied maritime patrol aircraft. Smaller maritime patrol aircraft have been procured from Europe as well as naval helicopters. The Navy Special Forces SWADS, trained primarily by the US, South Korea and Turkey have been armed with US made weaponry. They are capable of conducting operations behind enemy lines such as reconnaissance, direct action, counter terrorism and guerilla warfare.
Several Bangladesh Navy owned shipyards are also churning out different types of warships to help sustain the rapidly growing force. The Chittaing Dry Dock Ltd (Ltd) is building larger guided missile frigates, whilst Khulna Shipyard is building corvettes and large patrol craft. The Dockyard & Engineering Works, Narayanganj supports the Bangladesh Navy, Coast Guard and other sister services by building smaller coastal and riverine craft. The three Navy owned shipyards have saved hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign currency by building the warships locally.
The Bangladesh Air Force is undergoing expansion too with acquisition of modern air surveillance radar systems, C-130J tactical transport aircraft, transport helicopters, maritime search and rescue helicopters, jet trainers and SHORADS. The air force has confirmed acquisition programs for multi-role combat aircraft, attack helicopters and medium range air defence systems on a priority basis. Discussions are on with UK, USA, China and Russia to ensure these platforms are acquired within the next two years.
The Bangladesh Armed Forces also started the year on a successful note by conducting a large scale joint forces military exercise involving resources from the tri-services. Submarines, frigates, fighter aircraft, helicopters, transport aircraft, air defence systems, artillery, mechanised infantry, unmanned aerial vehicles and Special Forces participated in the exercise codenamed “Bajra Aghat” or Lighting Strike at Kutubdia Island on the Bay of Bengal. The exercise showcased the military’s ability to conduct large joint forces operations.