The Bangladesh Police force has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with JSC Russian Helicopters for two Mi-171A2 heavy utility helicopters in an effort to launch its own air wing.
Inspector General of Police Benazir Ahmed initiated the purchase to ensure rapid mobility of the Police force during any demanding situation.
Currently only the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), a special unit of the Bangladesh Police operates two Bell 407 helicopters obtained from the United States.
Members of the Police force demanded an air wing with a fleet of at least ten helicopters be established for their operational purposes, particularly for undertaking surveillance and fighting militancy in remote or easily inaccessible areas.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan was present during the ceremony as the chief guest at the Police Headquarters among other top officials from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Bangladesh Police and the Russian Embassy in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh’s armed forces and paramilitary forces have long operated the Mi-171 helicopters, however this is the first time that a law enforcement agency of the country is purchasing such heavy helicopters.
Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), a paramilitary force also operates Mi-171E helicopters and is purchasing additional units to expand its nascent air wing.
Police personnel are likely to undergo training on flying and maintenance of the aircraft. The Bangladesh Air Force is likely to provide assistance to the Bangladesh Police for maintaining the aircraft including performing any overhauling.
Currently the Bangladesh Air Force operates a significant number of Mi-171 helicopters.
The Bangladesh Army also operates six Mi-171Sh combat-support helicopters. Another six units are to be delivered shortly within this year to expand the growing fleet of the Army Aviation wing.