Maritime security and modernisation drive of the Bangladesh Navy

Discussion in 'Bangladesh Defence Forum' started by Major Shaheb, Jun 5, 2012.

  1. Major Shaheb

    Major Shaheb BANNED

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    As a peace loving country, Bangladesh has always proudly upheld the core value of its foreign policy: 'Friendship to all and malice to none.' All the governments have scrupulously maintained this motto when dealing with every issue, and have endeavoured to solve disputes through discussions and not by means of armed force. But no country in the world, whatever constraints it may have, can sit idle and ignore the core security issues. Bangladesh is no exception, and to this end, the country's maritime territory is of paramount importance to its national interest and security.

    Without a modern, strong navy, there is no shortcut to safeguarding sovereignty, resources at sea, territorial integrity or to withstand any sort of encroachment in the vast maritime arena.

    There has always been a call from concerned quarters to 'modernise our navy and make it a three dimensional force'. With limited resources, this has never been an easy task. 'The Draft Forces Goal 2020 for BN' in 2005/06 envisaged the Bangladesh Navy (BN) with submarines, helicopters, maritime patrol aircrafts and so forth; however, materialisation remains a difficult proposition. Nonetheless, in line with its stated vision, BN has recently initiated a mammoth modernisation and reform plan.

    The maritime area
    Bangladesh can be termed as a 'maritime country' with 24,824km2 of internal sea and 138,945km2 of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), totalling 163,749km2, which is 1.1 times larger than the land territory. Located near the eastern approaches of the Malacca Straits, Bangladesh commands an important geo-strategic position in the region. It also possesses the only sea port that is near to the landlocked Indian 'Seven Sisters'.1 On the landward side, Bangladesh is mainly surrounded by India (on three sides) except for a small border of about 271km with Myanmar on the southeast. The Bay of Bengal lies on the south with a coastline of over 700km.2 The coastline includes Bangladesh's sovereign possessions of St Martin's and South Talpatti Islands.3 Apart from the claimed sea area, a successful continental shelf claim may add an additional 200,000km2 to Bangladesh's EEZ.4

    The maritime strategy
    Although Bangladesh does not possess a written 'National Maritime Policy', the perceived Maritime Strategy aims to safeguard the maritime sovereignty and maintain peace and stability in the region. Due to its sea dependency, Bangladesh's maritime strategy revolves around asserting territorial integrity and maximising the use of its sea area to the fullest advantage for sustained development of the country. On the other hand, maritime security is orchestrated in the overall security paradigm of Bangladesh, where the maritime sector is a vital component of national economic and military power.

    As 90% of GNP depends on sea trade and commerce and almost 100% of Bangladesh's energy requirement in terms of fuel arrives by sea from the Middle East,5 thoughtful exploitation of maritime resources is very important as far as national interest is concerned. The two Sea Lines of Communication (SLOCs) connected with two sea ports at Chittagong and Mongla provide access to the oceans and act as vital trade links. Thereby any sort of disruption to these SLOCs, whether in war or peace, will have a disastrous effect and may cripple the economy.

    In the meantime, the Bay of Bengal has become a centre of attention of regional and extra regional powers due to the discovery of a substantial amount of natural gas off the Indian and Myanmar coasts and the possibility of more discoveries in the EEZ of Bangladesh. India and China are competing with each other for a share of the gas from Myanmar for their future energy security. In addition to this, the modernisation drive of the neighbouring navies and increasing influence of extra-regional powers including China and the USA in the maritime scenario are posing greater challenges for Bangladesh than ever before. Considering these factors, the fundamental maritime interests of Bangladesh may be considered as:

    •Political – maintenance of maritime sovereignty and territorial integrity;
    •Economic – exploration, exploitation and protection of seabed minerals, living and non-living resources from EEZ and continental shelf;
    •Security – security related interests are protection against seaborne conventional and unconventional threats, and awareness of nuclear threats.6 Maritime security is enforced by maritime security agencies that mainly comprise the navy, coastguard, marine police, port authorities and other maritime agencies. In Bangladesh, the capabilities of marine police, port authorities and other maritime agencies are very limited. Only the navy has the reasonable capabilities to enforce maritime security in the total sea area of Bangladesh, while the Bangladesh Coast Guards' capabilities are limited to coastal areas. 'In fact, BN has become the main and leading force in safeguarding the country's economic interests and exercising maritime control within the EEZ and the continental shelf due to lack of capabilities of other agencies involved in this field. Since inception, BN has steadily progressed to achieve its goal.'7

    As the BN is the prime organisation to implement the national maritime policy, its mission can be summarised as 'to make effective use of the Bay of Bengal and adjoining sea areas in the interests of national development and to safeguard territorial sovereignty against external aggression in any form'. This maritime mission can also be cited as 'to safeguard sovereignty over the internal waters and territorial sea, and sovereign rights over the Contiguous Zone, Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Continental Shelf of Bangladesh while supporting riverine and maritime economic activities including free flow of riverine and seaborne trade.'

    The tasks that BN may be expected to fulfil are:
    •Defence against seaborne invasion; and
    •Protection of SLOCs from offshore interests.

    Perceived secondary roles are:
    •Disaster relief;
    •Aid to civil power;
    •Constabulary and diplomatic roles;
    •Maritime search and rescue.

    The modernisation drive
    With the rise of security concerns in the Indian Ocean, the importance of the Bay of Bengal has risen simultaneously. To assert its rightful role in the Bay, BN has embarked on a long due modernisation initiative, which began with the adoption of the 10 year development plan in 2009. This plan thoroughly assessed the BN's deficiencies and will address them in phases. Transnational threats and encroachment upon national interests at sea have made monitoring, enforcement and deterrence capabilities a must for Bangladesh's maritime sovereignty.

    Maritime surveillance: in the scheme of ocean management, maritime surveillance is paramount against both conventional and non-conventional threats. Lacking air surveillance capabilities, BN depended on around the clock surface ship deployments for the maritime policing role. However, recent establishment of the Aviation Wing may see a sweeping change in surveillance capability and pattern. The Aviation Wing will have both rotary and fixed wing air assets. BN has already acquired two AugustaWestland AW109E helicopters (on 14th June 2011) and has three surface platforms (BNS Bangabandhu, Dhaleswari and Bijoy) for operating these helicopters at sea. The Aviation Wing was inaugurated by the Prime Minister on 27th December 2011.

    Surface capability: due to its unique capabilities, surface forces are always the fundamental building block of any navy. Its staying power allows it to be utilised in a wide range of missions from a diplomatic to deterrence show of force purposes. The ongoing efforts are gradually addressing BN's capability gap in this field. Already, two Castle class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) have been acquired from the UK, and commissioned on 5th March 2011. These OPVs are now being deployed regularly in the Bay of Bengal. Surveillance and fire power augmentation of these OPVs are ongoing. Moreover, two new large patrol crafts (LPCs) are being constructed in Wuchang Shipyard, China, with a delivery deadline by the end of 2012. These LPCs will be fitted with surface-to-surface missiles and medium range guns with search and fire control systems.

    In addition, BN is augmenting the capabilities of existing platforms. Operationalisation of the OTOMAT missile system of BNS Bangabandhu, an upgrade of the missile system on existing missile boats squadron and the fitting of missile systems on non-missile ships are the major projects in this category. Inclusion of more surface platforms and augmentation of the existing ones will multiply BN's offshore capabilities. BN has also acquired QW-2 shoulder launched surface-to-air missiles to improve these ships' self-defence capability against air threats. BN also plans to build two new corvettes with all-round capabilities.

    Despite these achievements, replacement of old British frigates remains a concern for the navy; therefore, it is seeking to acquire two 053H2G class frigates from China and one 'Secretary class cutter' from the US Coast Guard, preferably USCGC Rush (WHEC 723).

    Defence industry: the most promising development has taken place in the defence industry sector. Matching the ongoing private sector shipbuilding boost, BN has taken steps to reduce its long-term dependence on foreign warship builders. Under a recently concluded deal, Khulna Shipyard has already started constructing five patrol crafts of 350 tonnes each to be delivered by 2014 in phases. A Chinese company will help the shipyard with construction and transfer technology under this contract. These patrol crafts will boost BN's inshore maritime governance capability. Ananda Shipyard also bagged a deal to construct a tanker with an in-built refuelling system. The ship is expected to be handed over to the navy in 2012, which will mitigate BN's logistics limitation and enhance the staying power of surface forces at sea.

    Oceanographic research: meeting a long time need, BN finally acquired an oceanographic survey ship, the BNS Anushandhan (Ex-HMS Roebuck). This ship, commissioned on 29th December 2010, is fitted with the latest equipment for carrying out surveys in the deep seas.

    Submarines: during the passing out parade of midshipmen in December 2010, the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is also the Defence Minister of Bangladesh, stated the need and the government's plan to include a submarine in the navy by 2019. The recent rush of submarine acquisition by most of the south and southeast Asian nations highlights the platform's importance in maintaining maritime sovereignty. BN is actively working through the procedures to meet the desired vision of a 'three dimensional navy' by 2019 and it is negotiating with China to procure two diesel-electric submarines.

    Special operations: to prepare for special operations during war and peacetime (including antiterrorism and antipiracy capability), BN is working vigorously to bring into operation special warfare, diving and salvage (SWADS) teams. Approval of necessary manpower is at the final stage. To date, the US has provided 16 Defender class high-speed boats and 22 rigid hull inflatable boats. These boats played an active role during BN's 'aid to civil power' operations in maintaining oil supply across the country last year. SWADS was commissioned by the Prime Minister on 27th December 2011.

    Human resource development: BN has taken steps to enhance processes and infrastructures to ensure quality human resources. Training is continuously upgraded to match the changing technology and systems, and new training establishments are also planned. Moreover, as part of the digitisation effort, various automation systems are being developed for different functions. These efforts are likely to enhance BN's performances.

    Small budget allocation and a lack of a broader maritime vision have always scaled back BN's development efforts. However, the recent attention from the government to this long neglected sector may help the BN break this gridlock. A capable navy will help ensure the future of maritime sovereignty and national interests over Bangladesh's claimed waters.

    1Also called the North Eastern Frontier Agency (NEFA), the seven landlocked Indian provinces in the north-eastern part of India border with China, Myanmar and Bangladesh. These provinces are: Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, Manipur and Meghalaya. This area is totally landlocked, doesn't have any seaport and is connected with the Indian mainland through a narrow corridor (north of Bangladesh and bordering China also) namely the Siliguri Corridor. India has for a long time been requesting Bangladesh for the Chittagong port facilities for their Seven Sisters

    2Rear Admiral Mohammad Khurshed Alam (C), ndc, psc, BN (Ret'd), Bangladesh's Maritime Challenges in the 21st Century, Pathak Shamabesh Book, 2004, p 480
    3http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Martin%27s_Island
    4Rear Admiral Mohammad Khurshed Alam (C), ndc, psc, BN (Ret'd), Bangladesh's Maritime Challenges in the 21st Century, Pathak Shamabesh Book, 2004
    5Ibid, p 484
    6Ibid, p 479
    7'Jane's Fighting Ship', 2007-2008, the UK
     
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  2. kobiraaz

    kobiraaz ELITE MEMBER

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    i think this is an old article already posted in defence.pk
     
  3. Major Shaheb

    Major Shaheb BANNED

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    May be..or may not be...

    Thought people have the right to know...
     
  4. Major Shaheb

    Major Shaheb BANNED

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    The modernisation drive

    Maritime surveillance:
    The Aviation Wing will have both rotary and fixed wing air assets. BN has already acquired two AugustaWestland AW109E helicopters (on 14th June 2011):

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    On 23 June 2011 contract was signed with Ruag for supply of 2 Dornier 228 NG MPA:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Major Shaheb

    Major Shaheb BANNED

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    Surface capability: The ongoing efforts are gradually addressing BN's capability gap in this field. Already, two Castle class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) have been acquired from the UK, and commissioned on 5th March 2011:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Moreover, two new large patrol crafts (LPCs) are being constructed in Wuchang Shipyard, China, with a delivery deadline by the end of 2012. These LPCs will be fitted with surface-to-surface missiles and medium range guns with search and fire control systems. The ships are believed to look very much same as South Korian Yun Youngha class with 40 to 60 tonne more displacement:

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Nishan_101

    Nishan_101 BANNED

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    IT SOUNDS THAT bd are moving towards west...
     
  7. Major Shaheb

    Major Shaheb BANNED

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    BD is moving towards a 3D Navy if that what you meant..
     
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  8. Major Shaheb

    Major Shaheb BANNED

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    Despite these achievements, replacement of old British frigates remains a concern for the navy; therefore, it is seeking to acquire two 053H2G class frigates from China:

    [​IMG]

    And one 'Secretary class cutter' from the US Coast Guard, preferably USCGC Rush (WHEC 723)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Major Shaheb

    Major Shaheb BANNED

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    Defence industry: The most promising development has taken place in the defence industry sector. Matching the ongoing private sector shipbuilding boost, BN has taken steps to reduce its long-term dependence on foreign warship builders. Under a recently concluded deal, Khulna Shipyard has already started constructing five patrol crafts of 350 tonnes each to be delivered by 2014 in phases:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    Ananda Shipyard also bagged a deal to construct a tanker with an in-built refuelling system. The ship is expected to be handed over to the navy in 2012, which will mitigate BN's logistics limitation and enhance the staying power of surface forces at sea.
     
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  10. kobiraaz

    kobiraaz ELITE MEMBER

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    @ major: can you compare between C802 and fm90 equipped O53H2G and Missile Otomat , fm90 equipped BNS Khalid bin Walid in simple words?? Are these Augustas for OPVS or frigates?? any update of HarbinZ9?
     
  11. Major Shaheb

    Major Shaheb BANNED

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    Oceanographic research: Meeting a long time need, BN finally acquired an oceanographic survey ship, the BNS Anushandhan (Ex-HMS Roebuck). This ship, commissioned on 29th December 2010, is fitted with the latest equipment for carrying out surveys in the deep seas:

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. Major Shaheb

    Major Shaheb BANNED

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    Submarines: During the passing out parade of midshipmen in December 2010, the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is also the Defence Minister of Bangladesh, stated the need and the government's plan to include a submarine in the navy by 2019. BN is actively working through the procedures and it is negotiating with China and Europe to procure two diesel-electric submarines. The possible candidates are as follows:

    Type 039 submarine (Song Class):

    [​IMG]

    Type 209 submarine:

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. PlanetSoldier

    PlanetSoldier SENIOR MEMBER

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    This submarine procurement plan is a bit obscure to me, this govt. is saying within 2019 it will be added. I've seen some sources online (can't refer now, forgot) which say that previous govt. had a plan to induct submarine within 2010. Could you please tell us the real story behind?
     
  14. Major Shaheb

    Major Shaheb BANNED

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    Surface capability: In addition, BN is augmenting the capabilities of existing platforms. An upgrade of the missile system on existing missile boats squadron and the fitting of missile systems on non-missile ships are the major projects in this category. The ships will be updated with C-704 short range, C-802A and Otomat mid range ASh cruise missiles, FM-90N SAM and QW-2 MANPADs. The missile boats to be upgraded are:

    Type 021 class missile boats: - C-704, QW-2

    [​IMG]


    Castle Class corvettes: - C-802A & FM-90N

    [​IMG]


    Secretary class cutter: - C-802, FM-90N

    [​IMG]

    600 tonne Corvette: C-802A, QW-2

    [​IMG]

    Augusta Westland AW-109E Power: C-704

    [​IMG]

    BN also plans to build two new corvettes (650 tonne) with all-round capabilities: C-704, QW-2, S-244 whitehead, ASW Rocket

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. Nishan_101

    Nishan_101 BANNED

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    I think the new Chinese one with AIP will be cheap and secretive and they should go for 3-5 of these.