The Bangladesh Air Force has sent three Mi-171Sh helicopters to the United Nations’ peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (CAR).
The state Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) service said the three aircraft were transported by a chartered Antonov An-124 airlifter between Dhaka and Bangui on 20 June. They were preceded by a contingent of 123 Bangladesh Air Force personnel who arrived in the Central African Republic of 29 May on a Biman Bangladesh Airlines flight chartered by the United Nations.
The ISPR said the Mi-171Sh helicopter can be armed and are equipped for night operations.
Since 2010, Bangladesh has received 16 armed Mi-171Sh helicopters and three Mi-171s from Russia in four batches, according to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
The Mi-171Sh is equipped with two VK-2500 or TV3-117VM engines, armour and a defensive aids suite. It can be fitted with rockets, missiles and gun pods. It can carry up to 37 paratroopers, and cargo of up to 4 000 kg.
Bangladesh is one of the largest contributors to UN peacekeeping operations. The South Asian nation first deployed uniformed personnel to serve with the UN in 1988 when they were deployed to help monitor the armistice between Iran and Iraq. There are some 6 500 Bangladeshi peacekeepers deployed to UN missions, including one thousand with Minusca in the Central African Republic.