Bangladesh plans to upgrade a second batch of MiG-29 fighters

Bangladesh modernization upgrade MiG29
Bangladesh Air Force MiG-29 fighters.

According to the 2020-22 budget document, the Bangladesh Ministry of Defense plans to send a second batch of four MiG 29B/UB fighters to Belarus for Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU). A first batch of four Fulcroms has already been modernized between 2019 and 2020.

The Bangladesh Air Force's combat fleet currently consists of eight MiG-29s along with 36 Chengdu F-7 jets.

The upgrade work will bring the Bengali MiG-29s to a standard similar to that of the MiG-29BMs of the Belarusian Air Force. Bengalis believe that the BM variant is comparable to the Russian MiG-29SMT which is the most modern in service today. According to the service, the upgrade will allow the aircraft to more effectively conduct missions against aerial threats as well as ground attack.

This operation is part of the “Forces Goal 2030” plan that was launched by the nation in 2009, then revised in 2017, and calls for a massive expansion and modernization of Bangladesh's army, navy and air force. It aims to build a defense capable of facing neighboring India and Myanmar with which the nation has border conflicts.

Under the Forces Goal 2030 the nation has already acquired 16 Yak-130 advanced trainer jets (three of which were lost in crashes) and 16 F-7 BGIs. It also provides for the acquisition of 11 additional Yak-130s and 8 latest generation twin-engine multirole fighters. Some media had announced Dhaka's purchase of eight Sukhoi Su-30SME aircraft in 2017, but the deal was never officially confirmed. This means that the tender for new advanced combat aircraft is still open.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Photo Credit: Bangladesh Air Force

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