The Bangladesh Police Headquarters have outlined a plan to add ten more helicopters to its nascent air wing according a report that includes other demands such as inclusion of armoured personnel carriers, anti-riot vehicles and replacement of old vehicles at every district of the country.
Currently the Bangladesh Police operates two Bell 407 helicopters, which are used by the elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) however a shortage of helicopters have hampered police activities such as aerial surveillance, rapid response, disaster relief and counter terrorism.
In many Western countries Police have utilised helicopters fitted with FLIR systems to detect, identify, track and act against criminals. A growing national highway network has made it necessary for the Police to maintain a fleet of high speed capable pursuit vehicles and specialised helicopters.
Bangladesh Police higher authorities have also asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to allow a cadre of Police air wing pilots and ground maintenance crew rather than relying on the armed forces for support.
The Bangladesh Police may opt for Bell helicopters however Leonardo is expected to vie for the lucrative contract as they intend to establish a MRO plant in Bangladesh in partnership with the Bashundhara Group.
Leonardo has also offered to supply the Bangladesh Coast Guard with helicopters. The company failed to get win the Army’s tender for utility helicopters, for which Bell 429 was selected by the Army Aviation authorities.
Police in the Australian state of Victoria have used heat-seeking cameras mounted on AW139 helicopters to detect cannabis grow-houses.