Open main menu

The Bangladesh Air Force (Bengali: বাংলাদেশ বিমান বাহিনী, Bangladesh Biman Bahini, reporting name: BAF), is the aerial warfare branch of the Bangladesh Armed Forces, primarily tasked with the air defence of Bangladesh territory and providing air support to the Bangladesh Army and Navy. Additionally, the service has a territorial role of providing strategic air transport and logistics capability for the country.

Bangladesh Air Force
Bangladesh Air Force emblem.svg
The Crest of the Bangladesh Air Force
AllegiancePeople's Republic of Bangladesh
TypeAir force
RoleAerial warfare
Size14,000 active personnel[1]
4,000 reserve personnel[verification needed]
159 aircraft[2]
Part ofBangladesh Armed Forces
Air HeadquartersDhaka Cantonment
PatronThe President of Bangladesh
Motto(s)বাংলার আকাশ রাখিব মুক্ত
Transliteration:Banglar Aakash Rakhibo Mukto
(Free shall we keep the sky of Bangladesh)[3]
ColorsLight Sky, Deep sky         
Mascot(s)Flying Eagle
Anniversaries28 September (Air Force Day), Armed Forces Day (21 November)
EngagementsBangladesh Liberation War
Gulf War
Chittagong Hill Tracts operation
United Nations peacekeeping missions
Commander-in-chiefPresident Abdul Hamid
Chief of Air StaffAir Chief Marshal Masihuzzaman Serniabat, BBP, OSP, ndu, psc
RoundelRoundel of Bangladesh.svg
Fin flashFlag of Bangladesh.svg
FlagAir Force Ensign of Bangladesh.svg
Aircraft flown
AttackYak-130, Mil Mi-17
FighterMiG-29, F-7
HelicopterBell 206, Bell 212, Mi-17, AW 139, AW 119
TrainerPT-6, AW 119, Bell 206, L-39, FT-7, K-8, YAK 130, L-410
TransportC-130, An-32

Since its establishment on 28 September 1971, the Air Force has been involved in various combat and humanitarian operations, from the Bangladesh Liberation War in which it was born, to supporting international efforts including the Coalition of the Gulf War and United Nations peacekeeping missions.




MiG-29 and F-7 aircraft display during Bangladesh Air Force Victory Day Flypast and Aerobatics Show 2016

The Bangladesh Air Force was officially formed at the Sector Commanders Conference during Bangladesh's independence war from Pakistan in 1971. Its official date of formation has been established as 28 September 1971[citation needed] and it was launched formally by the government on 8 October 1971.[4] BAF's initial personnel were Bengali members of the Pakistan Air Force who were stationed in East Pakistan at the outbreak of the war and who deserted to the Bangladeshi side.[4] At that time, the embryo of Bangladesh Air Force BAF was formed with less than a hundred officers and a quite good number of airmen and warrant officers. A significant number of BAF personnel participated in the Bangladesh War of Independence. During the independence war, officers of the BAF attached to the Z-Force were then Bangladesh Gov't Representative to Chakulia Guerrilla Training Camp Squadron Leader M. Hamidullah Khan,[5] later Sub-Sector Commander and as Commander-Sector 11, Flight Lieutenant Liaqat as Battalion Adjutant, Flying Officer Rouf, Flying Officer Ashraf and Flight Sergeant Shafiqullah as company commanders. Squadron Leader Sadruddin Hossain, Squadron Leader Wahidur Rahim, Squadron Leader Nurul Qader, Squadron Leader Shamsur Rahman and Air Commodore Ataur Rahman as sub sector company commanders. Squadron Leader Khademul Bashar participated in the war as Commander-Sector 6.[6]

Bangladesh Air Force was organised in India with the initiative of Squadron Leader Sultan Mahmud (Ex-PAF Pilot), Captain Shahabuddin Ahmed (Ex-PIA Pilot), Captain Akram Ahmed (Ex-Plant protection Pilot) and Captain Sattar (ex-PIA Pilot) and Captain Sarfuddin (Ex-PIA Pilot). Later many Bangladeshi ex-PAF Officers joined in Bangladesh Air Force in India. Finally, Bangladesh Air Force was formed in late July 1971. Indian Air Force trained these Officers July 1971 through November 1971 as fighter pilots. Bangladesh Air Force first went in action on 3 December 1971 and attacked the Chattogram-based Oil tank depot and oil tank depot was totally destroyed by that air attack. The Air attack was conducted by Capt. Akram Ahmed.[7] The second Bangladesh Air Force attack was on 6 December 1971 at Moulovi Bazar Pakistani Army barracks under the command of Squadron Leader Sultan Mahmud, where Captain Shahabuddin Ahmed was co-pilot.[7]

Indian civilian authorities and the IAF donated 1 DC-3 Dakota (gifted by the Maharaja of Jodhpor), 1 Twin Otter plane, and 1 Alouette III helicopter for the newborn Bangladesh Air Force,[8] which was to take advantage of the lack of night-fighting capability of the PAF to launch hit-and-run attacks on sensitive targets inside Bangladesh from the air.[9]

Alouette III of Bangladesh Air Force

The Bengali rank and file fixed up the World War II vintage runway at Dimapur, then began rigging the aircraft for combat duty. The Dakota was modified to carry 500 pound bombs, but for technical reasons it was only used to ferry Bangladesh government personnel. Captain Abdul Khalek, Captain Alamgir Satter, and Captain Abdul Mukit, all destined to earn the Bir Pratik gallantry award, piloted the DC-3 Dakota. The Alouette III helicopter was rigged to fire 14 rockets from pylons attached to its side and had .303 Browning machine guns installed, in addition to having 1-inch (25 mm) steel plate welded to its floor for extra protection. Squadron Leader Sultan Mahmood, Flight Lieutenant Bodiul Alam, and Captain Shahabuddin, all of whom later won the Bir Uttam gallantry award, operated the helicopter. The Twin Otter boasted 7 rockets under each of its wings and could deliver ten 25 pound bombs, which were rolled out of the aircraft by hand through a makeshift door. Flight Lt. Shamsul Alam, along with Captains Akram Ahmed and Sharfuddin Ahmad, flew the Otter - all three were later awarded Bir Uttam for their service in 1971. This tiny force was dubbed Kilo Flight, the first fighting formation of the nascent Bangladesh Air force. Squadron Leader Sultan Mahmud was appointed as the commander of the 'Kilo Flight'.[10][11]

After independenceEdit

A BAF F-86 Sabre in the BAF Museum

After independence, the BAF received a significant donation from the former USSR. Among the aircraft delivered were ten single-seat Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21MFs and two twin-seat Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21UMs. Later China also supplied some equipment.[8]

Apart from the aircraft of Kilo Flight which were donated to India, most Pakistan Air Force aircraft grounded in Dhaka due to runway cratering by the Indian Air Force during the liberation war, were sabotaged before surrender. Many of these were also returned to service by Bangladeshi ground technicians. The Pakistan Air Force prior to 1971 had many Bengali pilots, air traffic controllers, technicians and administrative officers. Many of them distinguished themselves during the Bangladesh Liberation War, they provided the nascent Bangladesh Air Force with a good number of trained personnel. It had grown with the repatriation of Air Force personal from Pakistan in 1973 after the Simla Agreement.[4] In 1977 some personnel of Bangladesh Air Force staged a mutiny.[12]

Defence co-operation improved with Pakistan considerably under the military regimes of Ziaur Rahman and Hossain Mohammad Ershad in Bangladesh, which had grown more distant from its war ally, India. Common concerns over India's regional power have influenced strategic co-operation leading to a gift of several squadrons of refurbished Shenyang F-6 fighter aircraft from Pakistan to the Bangladesh Air Force in the late 1980s.[8] Bangladesh bought 8 Mig-29 from Russia in 1999 under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.[13] Bangladesh Air Force Academy (BAFA) received National colours in 2003 by the then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia. The Recruits’ Training School (RTS) has been awarded with BAF Colours by ex-Chief of Air Staff (AVM Fakhrul Azam) in 2004. In 2017 Bangladesh Air Force was awarded the Independence Day Award.[14]

Forces Goal 2030Edit

Yak-130s of the Bangladesh Air Force

The Bangladesh Air Force has an ambitious modernisation plan to be implemented in upcoming years under Forces Goal 2030. As per the goal, air force is to be a strong deterrent force to well protect the sky of Bangladesh. Plans are made to strengthen both air power and land based air defence capabilities. Since the formulation of the forces goal 2030, the BAF has developed in many folds.

Since 2010, BAF has taken the delivery of sixteen Chengdu F-7BGI fighter aircraft, sixteen Yakovlev Yak-130 advanced jet trainers, nine K-8W jet trainer aircraft, three Let L-410 Turbolet transport trainer aircraft[15] and twenty three PT-6 basic trainers.[16] Process is going on for the procurement of eight multirole combat aircraft.[17][18]

BAF has also taken the delivery of sixteen Mi-171Sh combat transport helicopters, two AgustaWestland AW139 maritime SAR helicopters[19] and two AW 119KX training helicopters since 2010.

BAF earned the Surface to Air Missile capability by introducing FM-90 short range air defence missile in 2011.[20] Till date, BAF Has taken the delivery of two regiments of FM-90 systems. Bangladesh air force will receive Italian origin long range Selex RAT-31DL air defence radar and a short range air defence radar soon. Process of procuring one battery of medium range surface to air missile system is going on.[21]

UN mission deploymentEdit

More than 600+ BAF personnel, including officers and airmen, 10 BAF helicopters and are currently deployed to various UN Missions. Another C-130 transport aircraft is providing support to UN Mission in Africa. With the deployment of C-130 aircraft and its personnel, Bangladesh became the largest troops contributing country in UN peacekeeping missions.

List of the Chiefs of Air StaffEdit


According to the Constitution of Bangladesh, President of Bangladesh act as the civilian commander-in-chief, and Chief of Air Staff (COAS), by statute a four-star air officer (air chief marshal), commands the Air Force.[22][failed verification] The Bangladesh Air Force is currently commanded by Air Marshal Masihuzzaman Serniabat,BBP, OSP, ndu, psc.[22][23]

The Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) has its headquarters at Dhaka Cantonment. HQ has 4 branches, Operations & Training (Ops. & Trng.), Administration (Admin.), Maintenance (Mte.) and Plannings (Plans).[24] Each branch is headed by officers who are considered as principal staff officer (PSO) and known as assistant chief of air staff, e.g. ACAS (Ops & Trng). Under each PSO there are various directorates headed by directors of air commodore rank. Under each director there are deputy directors (DD) headed by group captain and staff officers (SO) with the rank of wing commander and below.

Senior commandersEdit

Shoulder Appointment Rank & Name Star Plate
  Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Masihuzzaman Serniabat, BBP, OSP, ndu, psc, GD(P)[22]  
  Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Operations) Air Vice Marshal M Abul Bashar, BBP, OSP, ndc, acsc, psc, GD(P)  
  Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Administration) Air Vice Marshal AKM Ahsanul Haque, BSP, ndu, afwc, psc, ADWC  
  Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Planning) Air Vice Marshal Ehasanul Gani Choudhury, OSP, GUP, ndu, psc  
  Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Maintenance) Air Vice Marshal M Quamrul Ehsan, BUP, ndc, psc  
  Air Officer Commanding, BAF Base Khademul Bashar (Dhaka) Air Vice Marshal Md Shafiqul Alam, OSP, BSP, ndc, afwc, psc  
  Air Officer Commanding, BAF Base Bangabandhu (Dhaka) Air Vice Marshal M Sayed Hossain, BSP, GUP, ndc, psc, GD(P)  
  Air Officer Commanding, BAF Base Zahurul Haq (Chattogram) Air Vice Marshal Muhammad Mafidur Rahman, BUP, ndu, afwc, psc, GD(P)  
  Air Officer Commanding, BAF Base Matiur Rahman (Jashore) Air Vice Marshal Muhammad Nazrul Islam, GUP, ndc, psc, GD(P)  
  Air Officer Commanding, BAF Base Paharkanchanpur (Tangail) Air Commodore Md Zahidur Rahman, BSP, ndu, psc, GD(P)  
  Air Officer Commanding, BAF Base Cox's Bazar Air Commodore Hasan Mahmood Khan, GUP, nswc, psc, GD(P)  

Branches (Officer)Edit

Branches of officers of Bangladesh Air Force are:

  • General Duties (Pilot), abbreviation: GD(P)
  • General Duties (Navigator), abbreviation: GD(N)
  • Engineering
  • Air Defense Weapons Controlling
  • Air Traffic control
  • Meteorology
  • Logistics
  • Administration
  • Finance/Accounts
  • Education
  • Legal
  • Medical (officers are seconded from army)

Trade Groups (Airmen)[25]Edit

Trade Groups of airmen are:

  1. Aircraft Engineering
  2. Electrical and Instrument Engineering
  3. General Engineering
  4. Mechanical Transport Engineering
  5. Armament Engineering
  6. Radio Engineering
  7. Ground Signalling
  8. Radar Operating
  9. Life Saving Equipment
  10. Photography
  11. Air Traffic Control
  12. Education
  13. Cypher
  14. Meteorological
  15. Medical
  16. Secretarial
  17. Supply
  18. Ground combatant (GC)
  19. Mechanical Transport Operator
  20. Provost
  21. Catering
  22. Musician
  23. Aircrew

Rank structureEdit


NATO code
OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) and student officer
No equivalent                      
Air Chief Marshal Air Marshal Air Vice-Marshal Air Commodore Group Captain Wing Commander Squadron Leader Flight Lieutenant Flying Officer Pilot Officer Officer cadet


NATO code
OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1
        No equivalent   No equivalent     No insignia
Master Warrant Officer Senior Warrant Officer Warrant Officer Sergeant Corporal Leading Aircraftman Aircraftman 1 Aircraftman 2