To ensure maritime security, Bangladesh Navy will need to operate across a wide expanse of ocean. Maritime patrol aircraft are critical to that effort, because of the surveillance area that a single plane can cover. That is why, Bangladesh Navy is eyeing for Anti-Submarine aircrafts. Bangladesh Navy’s first anti-submarine aircraft can be P-3 orion.
Bangladesh Navy is looking into three aircrafts:
- P-3C Orion
- CASA C-295 MPA
- ATR-72 MPA
Amongst these three, only the P-3C is a dedicated Maritime Patrol Aircraft, whereas the latter ones are converted to MPA. P-3C is also used by many countries and is a proven platform.
BUT the production of P-3 went off years ago. No worries, there is still a way that Bangladesh can procure P-3C. Japan will retire their P-3C Orions. Some countries including Bangladesh plan on buying those Orions.
P-3C Orion Performance:
- Crew: 10
- Maximum Speed: 411 kn (750 km/h)
- Cruise Speed: 328 kn (610 km/h)
- Range: 2,380 nmi radius(4,400 km)
- Combat Radius: 1,346 nmi (2,490 km) three hours on-station at 1,500 feet
- Ferry Range: 4,830 nmi (8,944 km)
- Endurance: 16 hours
- Service Ceiling: 28,300 ft
Anti-submarine warfare systems:
- 84 sonobuoys
- Magnetic Anomaly Detector
- Sonar tape recorder
- Airborne electronic surveillance receiver
It’s unlikely that US will sell Harpoon missiles to Bangladesh.
As for torpedo, BN will choose A244S mod3 lightweight torpedo, which is in service with the BN fleet and has a range of 13,000 m (at 28 kn).
One might think why would BN choose second-hand P-3C over the brand new ATR-72 MPA and CASA C295 MPA. As stated before, ATR-72 and CASA are transport aircrafts, which are modified and converted to MPA.
On the other hand, the Orion is more suitable and a widely used MPA. Though second-hand, upgraded and refitted P-3C can still pack a punch. Mid-life upgrade to the Orion provides 15,000 additional flight hours. The retired Orions have fifteen to twenty years life-time left. In any case, addition of the P-3C MPAs to the Navy’s fleet, will undoubtedly improve our maritime surveillance and strike capabilities.