March 29, 2023

This ex-Pakistan Sabre is a rare example preserved by the BAF

The Bangladesh Air Force’s usage of MiGs began in the 70s immediately after the establishment of the BAF. The erstwhile USSR supplied 12 MiG-21 Ms in the early 70s to supplement the five F-86 Sabres being used by the BAF. The MiGs saw usage into the eighties but were since grounded due to shortage of spares and flying hours. None of the original MiG-21s are now being used. Several of the MiGs still lie in storage at BAF Bashar, some are displayed as gate gaurdians.

A visitor to Dhaka can see one of the original MiG-21s on display at the Jahangir gate in the Army Cantonment in Dhaka. This MiG-21 is displayed in a rather unique and striking manner, pointing skywards at the entrance to the BAF Recruitment Center.

Bangla_MiG2103.jpg (11630 bytes) The MiG-21 M [ 007 ] perched precariously over the main entrance to the BAF Recruitment center in Dhaka Cantonment Area. Pic Courtesy : Ashit Chakraborty
Check Six! View of the same MiG-21 from the rear, This view is similar to that ofa MiG breaking off from an attack, or trying to avoid a missile! Pic Courtesy : Ashit Chakraborty Click to Enlarge

Another MiG-21 [No.009] is on display at the Air Headquarters at Bashar AFB. It is displayed on a concrete pylon/platform. Also seen on display in Dhaka at the Bijoy Sarani traffic square is a Shenyang F-6 [No. 632]. The BAF acquired F-7s (Chinese copies of the MiG-21F) and F-6 (Chinese MiG-19s) in the mid Eighties to bolster its offensive component. Pakistan Air Force donated several F-6s in the early nineties to the BAF. However most of the F-6s were written off in a cyclonic storm that hit Bangladesh’s Chittagong Airbase. Some of the F-6s have since been moved to their present Gate Gaurdian/Traffic Square duties.

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Two views of the Shenyang F-6 [ 632 ] at the Bijoy Sarani traffic square in Dhaka . Pic Courtesy : Ashit Chakraborty

A number of F-6s were noticed in other towns and stations. Air Force Base Chittagong has one on display as a Gate Gaurdian according to the Magazine Air Forces Monthly. Recently in December 2002, Our man in Bangladesh, Ashit Chakraborty visited Chittagong town. He came upon another F-6 with the serial number ‘3812’ on display.

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Shenyang F-6 [3812 ] mounted on the pylon at Chittagong town is believed to be one of the two F-6s in Chittagong, the other F-6 being reported as a gate guardian in the Air Force Base.

The port town of Khulna, has another F-6 on display at one of the street squares. Ashit had earlier visited Khulna and sent uspictures of the aircraft ‘622’ on display there.

Bangla_622_01.jpg (15758 bytes) Shenyang F-6 [ 622 ] on display in the port town of Khulna. The BAF has a better practice of constructing concrete pylons to form a base to display the aircraft. Not only does it creates a better display, but also keeps the aircraft out of prying reach of curious passerbys. Pic Courtesy : Ashit Chakraborty
Our Bangladesh Warbird Man Ashit Chakraborty himself can be seen in the picture on the right which shows the F-6 from the front. Pic Courtesy : Ashit Chakraborty Bangla_622_02.jpg (13249 bytes)

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