The Bangladesh Air Force has approved the purchase of eight Mi-28NE attack helicopters from Russia at a cost of BDT 4,100 crore under a Government to Government (G2G) deal between the two countries.
Air Force Headquarters has sent a proposal to the Ministry of Finance for pre-approval of the purchase of these state-of-the-art attack helicopters from Russia.
Under the proposal each helicopter is to cost EUR 40.35, this excludes training, operations, maintenance, shipping insurance, government taxes, agency commission, and other expenses.
The Bangladesh Air Force had originally been in discussion with Boeing of the United States for AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters. However, before the transfer of any such sensitive military hardware the US counterparts required Bangladesh to sign several framework agreements such as ACSA and GSOMIA to pave the way for major defence hardware transfers.
With an immediate requirement, the Bangladesh Air Force Headquarters attack helicopter committee recommended purchasing attack helicopters from alternative sources.
A Russian delegation also visited the Bangladesh Army Headquarters on 2 December 2021 and met with the Chief of General Staff (CGS) to discuss areas of mutual cooperation.
Russia is also keen to supply Mi-28NE or Mi-35M attack helicopters to the Bangladesh Army, besides carry out ongoing supply for additional Mi-171Sh combat-support helicopters.
According to Rosoboronexport the Mi-28NE combat helicopter can engage enemy manpower, armoured and non-armoured equipment in the frontline and in tactical depth. It is also capable of destroying low-speed targets as well as providing covering fire and fire support to tactical landing troops.
The helicopter is characterised by its high survivability in the air due to the fact that its critical systems are provided by armour. It is also equipped with sophisticated ECM to protect against portable MANPADS with multi-spectral thermal homing warheads.
The Mi-28NE can operate in mountainous, hot and humid climate conditions. It can land on unpaved sites and can operate at altitudes of up to 5,600 m. The maximum takeoff weight of the Mi-28NE is 12,100 kg, it has a maximum payload of 2,100 kg.
The Mi-28NE is armed with guided weapons and missile launchers to destroy enemy aircraft and helicopters. The helicopter can carry up to 16 Ataka-B air-to-ground missiles and eight short-range Igla air-to-air missiles. It is also armed with two Strelets air to air missiles, 130 mm and 80 mm rocket pods, and a 30mm 2A42 cannon.
Air Force Technology states the Mi-28NE is “offers fire protection for power equipment, hydraulic systems, and other fire hazardous units and compartments. The engine compartment is insulated by airframe elements and the self-sealing fuel tanks are protected from an explosion and fuel leakage”.
The helicopter is fitted with a sophisticated thermal television system, helmet-mounted sights, airborne radar system, laser guidance system and electro-optical system to enable operating round the clock. Powered by two VK-2500 turboshaft engines manufactured by Klimov, the Mi-28NE has a maximum range of 435 km. Its cruise speeds are 270 km/h and 315 km/h maximum respectively.