The Bangladesh Navy has outlined its plan to acquire amphibious assault ships in accordance to the Forces Goal 2030 defence modernisation blueprint.
Declassified Ministry of Defence (MoD) documents obtained by Defseca.com states the Bangladesh Navy’s desire to obtain three Landing Craft Tank (LCT), Landing Platform Dock (LPD), fleet oil tanker and a Logistic Ship to bolster its operational projection capabilities beyond coastal areas.
Due to the complexity and workload of existing navy-owned shipyards it is unlikely that Bangladesh Navy will have some of these aforementioned ships built.
The Bangladesh Navy is yet to disclose the technical specifications for the ships though it has a wide variety of foreign partners willing to offer proven designs for incorporation in to the Bangladesh Navy.
Fincantieri of Italy has successfully built and delivered at least one amphibious transport dock to the Algerian National Navy based on the San Giorgio class.
French companies DCNS and STX Europe, who have evinced interest in the Bangladesh Navy’s national frigate program have also got a solid track record of building and exporting amphibious assault ships including the Foudre class and Mistral class to foreign navies.
China also built Type 071 amphibious transport dock ships for use by the PLAN and modified variant for export. The smaller modified variant was offered to the Royal Malaysian Navy, while another variant is under export to the Royal Thai Navy.
Other offerings on the international market include the Makassar LPD design from PT Pal of Indonesia. The Indonesian shipbuilder has already exported the two ships of the class to the Philippine Navy and offered the Royal Malaysian Navy an enlarged design with full transfer of technology.
Most of these platforms cost around $500 million or less.
In terms of capabilities they can carry a battalion of troops, light vehicles, tanks and a number of helicopters. They are armed with both gun-based remote weapons systems, machine guns and man-portable air defence missiles. More powerful armaments can be added to the ships if required.
An amphibious assault ship can weigh anywhere between 8,000 tonnes to 25,000 tonnes and have a range of around 10,000 nautical miles.
Apart from the LPD, Bangladeshi shipyards have experience in building Landing Craft Tank (LCT), logistic ships and fleet oil tankers indigenously. The Navy could add additional hulls of the same designs currently commissioned in its fleet unless they are seeking larger ships. As the RFI has not been disclosed it is still premature to make observations on those requirements.
Overall however there can be no denying that the Bangladesh Navy is seeking to transform itself in to a regional naval power with addition of dozens of new warships, many of which are designed for blue-water specific missions.
From 2030 onwards the operational capabilities of the Bangladesh Navy will be strengthened due to a very supportive government administration, which has made securing the ‘Blue Economy’ a priority.