As the COVID-19 has once again gripped South Asia, the economic situation of the region once again suffered a drastic fall with trade declined to a great extent. And, a good proportion of budget is now directed for relief purposes and humanitarian assistance. While the year 2020 saw some of the major occassions either postponed or delayed, the situation in 2021 seems to follow the same path if the spread is not contained by mid year. However, there are still aspirations for 2022, with many spectacular events scheduled.
The Bangladesh Air Show, announced in November 2020, is a scheduled international air show for 2022, that will be the first such event to be organised in the country on the golden jubilee of Independence. Cox Bazaar, the longest Sea Beach in the world will be the venue of the show. With the latest promotional videos released on Wednesday, it is confirmed that there will be no hurdles in organising the great event, for now atleast.
“BAF is going to paint the skies with aircraft from various countries over the longest sea beach of the world”, the presentation evinced while showing glimpses of thrilling air-to-air shots of BAF aircrafts involving Yak-130, MiG-29, J-7, PT-6 and more.
While it is confirmed multiple times that foreign aircraft would indeed take part, there is still no confirmation on who will be the international participants.
What we can expect?
We can expect various aviation industries to display their products, as well as air forces to show off their skills. Dassault Aviation can be a primary contender with its Rafale combat aircraft. Another can be the Eurofighter Typhoon from Airbus/British Aerospace (BAe). Both the industries are currently pitching their aircraft in Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MRCA) tender for Bangladesh Air Force and the airshow could be the ideal venue to showcase formidable capabilities of the platforms.
India and Pakistan can be other major participants with their indigenous combat aircraft solutions, namely the LCA Tejas and JF-17 “Thunder” respectively. Both the platforms belong to the Lightweight category. The aged 3rd generation Chinese origin Chengdu J-7 “Fishcan” aircraft constitute the majority of the Bangladesh Air Force combat fleet and hence, JF-17 or Tejas may turn out as suitable alternative to replace the fighters. While Sino-Pak fighter (JF-17) has already secured two export orders (with one more probability in Argentina), the Tejas is yet to achieve complete operationalisation with Indian Air Force itself.
Chinese aerospace giants like Chengdu and Shenyang may not miss the opportunity as well. While their presence in foreign airshows (especially the ones held in western countries) is rare, Bangladesh will somewhat provide a great slot to secure more orders for its low-cost defence equipment, for which it is known for.
Other entrants can be Russians- Sukhoi and Mikoyan; and American Boeing and Lockheed Martin with their successful fighter platforms, and showoff their excellent manoeuvring skills to overawe the crowd.
While all these are merely just assumptions, it will be exciting to see how the airshow goes and how much participation it sees. The official updates will soon follow.
As promised, adequate infrastructure are already in development for safe and secure host of the aircraft and the operators (pilots and support personnel). Being the first such large scale event to be organised in the state, this will mark a major breakthrough in Bangladesh defence aviation at the time when it is following the modernisation plan.
The Bangladesh Air Show, announced in November 2020, is a scheduled international air show for 2022, that will be the first such event to be organised in the country on the golden jubilee of Independence.