Easterntimes, Special Correspondent, Dhaka, 16 October: The Bangladesh Air Force is ferrying its newly acquired K-8W jet trainers from China.
A contingent of BAF pilots were sent to China to bring back the aircraft. It is expected that the newly purchased aircraft will make stopover in a neighbouring country before landing in Bangladesh.
The Bangladesh Air Force signed a deal with China under a G2G agreement worth $200 million for 7 additional K-8W intermediate jet trainers of 20 June 2018.
The delivery of the aircraft were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic even though the aircraft were already built and ready to be delivered to the Bangladesh Air Force several months ago.
Currently the K-8W is based at Jashore, at the Matiur Rahman air base with the 15 Squadron.
Two aircraft crashed since introduction in 2014 including one in 1 July 2018 killing two pilots during a night training mission as a result of technical failure.
Once the seven K-8W jet trainers are ferried back to Bangladesh a total of 15 aircraft will be available with its respective parent squadron for conducting intermediate jet training.
The K-8W is a two-seat intermediate jet trainer and a light attack aircraft designed in the People’s Republic of China by China Nanchang Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation. Pakistan is also the co-partner of this project. The primary contractor is the Hongdu Aviation Industry Corporation.
The K-8W is its latest variant featuring improved cockpit and HUD. The aircraft has a capacity to carry a total of 1,000 kg of payload in 5 hardpoints. A 23mm cannon pod can be mounted on the centerline hardpoint, whereas each underwing hardpoint has a carrying capacity for 250 kg of ordnance.
57 mm unguided rockets with 12 rounds each can be carried as well as PL-5, PL-7 short range air-to-air missiles, 200kg/250 kg unguided bombs, BL755 cluster bombs and two 80 gallon drop-tanks on the outboard under-wing hardpoints.
The K-8W is equipped with EFIS and is powered by the Ukrainian Ivchenko-Progress AI-25TLK turbofan jet engine with 16.9 kN of thrust.
Its airframe has a service life of 8,000 flight hours.
The aircraft has been exported to Angola, Bolivia, Egypt, Ghana, Myanmar, Namibia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Venezuela, Zambia and Zimbabwe.