Bangladesh Army seeks family of UAVs7th June 2023 - 10:00 GMT | by Gordon Arthur in Christchurch
The Bayraktar TB2 could be one candidate for the Bangladesh Army’s requirement for a series of short-, medium- and long-range UAVs. (Photo: Baykar)
The Bangladesh Army is seeking some commonality in a family of new UAVs that will serve for the next 15 years.
A deadline of 16 May was set for the Bangladesh Army’s RfP seeking responses from vendors for a family of short-, medium- and long-range UAVs.
The 106-page-long tender document was designed to gather information about different platforms that would enable the Bangladesh Army to ‘standardise’ its UAV fleet.
Although the RfP did not mention numbers of aircraft, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said in 2021 that the army was seeking six MALE UAVs.
For a short-range UAV, the RfP listed a range of at least 100km and endurance of more than 5h. Capable of flying at a ceiling of at least 5,000m, it will be have a 3D mapping system, the ability to track at least five targets simultaneously and a camera resolution of 10cm.
As for the medium-range UAV with at least a 24h endurance, its mission sets include: ISR by day/night with a 200km radius, target acquisition, fire correction, target tracking and engagement, damage assessment, SIGINT, EW, mapping and route monitoring.
This UAV would have a tricycle undercarriage and preferably four hardpoints.
As for the long-range UAV, the Bangladesh Army wants a platform possessing at least a 300km radius of action and 24h endurance. Its flight ceiling will be a minimum of 10km.
The RfP asked whether this long-range UAV has a maritime capability and can be operated from a naval vessel, indicating that operations over water are anticipated for this type.
All three members of the UAV family would carry an EO/IR sensor, multi-sensor/laser rangefinder and synthetic aperture radar. The tender also enquired about pod-mounted ELINT, radar warning receiver, COMINT and communications jammer. The RfP asked about the ability to carry weapons too.
Bangladesh wants a 15-year lifespan for each UAV type. To benefit from technology transfer, the army proposes placing a team of six pilots, three maintenance and three electronics engineers at the assembly site during the manufacturing process.
A training simulator is also being sought.
The Bangladesh Army is believed to have previously received RQ-20B Puma, RQ-12B Wasp AE and Bramor C4EYE UAVs.
Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) has procured Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs from Turkey, the contract allegedly being signed in May 2022. This followed the floating of tenders for MALE UAVs in 2017 and 2018.
Training of personnel is currently occurring in Turkey, as demonstrated by a photo circulating online of Bangladeshi personnel there. The contract is understood to be for six TB2s.
The BAF operates the Falco EVO UAV too.
In addition, the BAF has been pursuing a four-phase indigenous UAV programme since 2008. It stalled somewhat after about a decade, but the BAF still plans to build a full-scale prototype of a UAV capable of carrying weapons.