The Bangladesh Navy began its journey on the 7th of April, 1971 during the war against Pakistan. Its general objective is to safeguard Bangladesh’s maritime territory and maintain the free-flow of trade in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
At present 20,000 personnel serve in the Bangladesh Navy including 4,000 civilians.
Forty-five Bengali sailors along with two warships, namely BNS Padma and BNS Palash defected from the Pakistan Navy joined the 1971 war to form the nucleus of the Bangladesh Navy. The fleet was further expanded with the induction of 6 more warships on the 9th of November, 1971. These warships undertook numerous raids against the Pakistani fleet based in East Pakistan (present day Bangladesh). Some 334 naval personnel participated in the 1971 war with 22 being killed in action. Shaheed Lt. Cdr Moazzam Hossan, Shaheed Ruhul Amin, Engine Room Artificer-I (Birshrestha), Shaheed Mohammad Farid Uddin Ahmed-Radio Electrician-I (Bir Bikram), Shaheed Mohammad Daulat Hossain Mollah-Able Seaman (Bir Bikram), Shaheed Mohammad Akter Uddin- Able Seaman were amongst the sailors who sacrified their lives during the war amongst others.
A milestone in the nascent Bangladesh Navy was achieved in 1976 and 1978 with the induction of two ex-Royal Navy gun frigates BNS Umar Farooq and BNS Ali Haider. Later in 1982 the 3rd ex-Royal Navy frigate joined the Bangladesh Navy as BNS Abu Bakr. The introduction of these frigates gave the Bangladesh Navy a ‘limited Blue Water’ capability.
The Bangladesh Navy’s headquarters (NHQ) is located in Dhaka. All naval activities are directed by the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS). In addition, there are four Principal Staff Officers (PSOs) present to discharge his duties.
At present Vice Admiral Mohammad Nizamuddin Ahmed (TAS), OSP, ndc, psc, BN is discharging his duties as the commander of the Bangladesh Navy.
There are three naval regions in Bangladesh namely the Dhaka, Chittagong and Khulna areas.
For effective Command, Control and Administration, five Administrative Authorities function under NHQ. They include:
- Commodore Commanding Chittagong (COMCHIT). Responsible for administration, training and logistic support to the Ships/Establishment in Chittagong naval area.
- Commodore Commanding BN Flotilla (COMBAN). He is the Flotilla Commander in Chittagong Naval Area. Responsible for sea operational activities and operational sea training.
- Commodore Commanding Khulna (COMKHUL). Responsible for administration, training, operation and logistic support for Khulna naval area.
- Commodore Superintendent Dockyard (CSD). Responsible for repair and maintenance of BN Ships/Craft.
- Administrative authority Dhaka (ADMIN DHAKA). Responsible for administration, training and logistic support for naval area Dhaka.
Being a hi-tech equipment orientated organisation the Bangladesh Navy attaches a high level of importance to training and therefore it is continuously developing and imparting training accordingly.
There are five main shore based training establishments including the Bangladesh Naval Academy, BNS Shaheed Moazzam, BNS Issa Khan. BNS Titumir and School Of Maritime Warfare and Tactics. Sea training is conducted on the frigate BNS Umar Farooq, offshore patrol vessel BNS Shaheed Ruhul Amin. Individual officer and sailor training are conducted on warships continuously.
Specialised training for naval aviation pilots is achieved with the assistance of the Bangladesh Air Force.
There are 26 naval bases located across the three naval operational areas in Bangladesh including a naval commando base in Chittagong.
The Bangladesh Navy operates a full range of submarines and warships including guided missile frigates, patrol frigates, guided missile corvettes, offshore patrol vessels, gun-torpedo-missile armed fast attack craft, coastal patrol craft, amphibious warfare ships, fleet replenishment ships, tug boats, tenders, helicopters and maritime fixed-wing patrol aircraft.