Bangladesh Army ordered two CASA CN-235–300 medium range military transport aircraft from Spain. These two plane will be used for army air operation like tactical air lift and army logistical air support. CN-235 was jointly developed & manufactures by the PT. Dirgantara Indonesia and Spanish CASA. It can be modified as ground support gunship, which already has been done and in active service in Royal Jordanian Air Force. Indonesia, America, Turkey, Spain, France, Malaysia and such more than 20 countries has using almost 273 units of this plane. CASA CN-235–300 is the latest upgraded version of the same design with advanced avionics & sub-systems.
Tactical military transport, maritime patrol, paratroopers dropping, air surveillance, humanitarian & relief mission, search and rescue missions are the main job can be done with the CASA CN-235–300. Its special pressurized cabin can accommodate palletized cargo and medical evacuation mission setup with ease. These modification can be done with minimum tools and time. It can carry 6–9 tons of weight, including 57–71 fully geared troops or light vehicles. The MPA version is the CASA CN-235–300M, which can carry Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) weapons.
CASA CN-235–300 is a multi-role aircraft can be deployed for the tactical transport, maritime patrol, electronic warfare (ESM / ECM and ELINT / COMINT), and navigator training and aerial survey tasks. It is very much capable of short-takeoff and landing on rough and unprepared runway. Bangladesh’s CN-235–300 is modified with the Honeywell International Corp. advanced avionics suite. It also can be fitted with a double-nosewheel landing gear for “rough landing”. CN-235–300 can take up to the air after 1217 meters run. Its maximum range is 5,055 kilometers at 454km/h with maximum service ceiling at 25,000 feet up. The CN-235–300 has a range of 5,055km at maximum 454km/h cruising speed while its service ceiling is 25,000 ft. CN-235–300 is equipped with full sized rear ramp for easier cargo loading-unloading of bulk like palletized cargo and light combat vehicles.
It also featured one crew door and two troops dropping doors. Its rear ramp can be opened in-flight for paratroopers dropping and aerial cargo offloading. New modified version CN235–300 is very much capable of hot and high performance with in-flight refueling which increases its range with greater loiter time. Its pressurized cabin is fully air conditioned and can be configured for mixed passenger and cargo or for all-cargo operations. CN-235 300 can carry and drop 57 fully equipped troops and 48 paratroops. 24 stretchers with patients + four-person medical team also can be carried for the medical evacuation (MedEvac) mission.
Aerial mission loads can be dropped by low altitude or high altitude delivery tactics. CN-235 300 series cockpit is equipped with night-vision goggle enabler, one Rockwell Collins EFIS-85B (14) flight information system which is comprised of four 6in x 8in LCDs or liquid-crystal displays and twin heads-up display for pilot and co- pilot, as it needs only two crew to be piloted. It has an avionics suite of open-architecture of MIL-STD-1553B, ARINC 429 military digital databuses, advanced terrain collision avoidance system (enhanced TCAS) and Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS) and a Thales Topdeck color weather, flight data recorder. Where paratroopers can be dropped, aircraft’s flight management system & four-dimensional integrated navigation system automatically calculates that altitude and release points.
Two General Electric CT7–9C3 turboprop engines each generate 1,305kW power to run & fly the plane. There are fire detection and fire extinguishing systems for the engine’s safeguard. The MPA version is the CN-235 300M, can be armed with Harpoon anti-ship missiles, two mk46 torpedoes or Exocet M-39 air-launch anti-ship missiles which are stationed at six hardpoints, three under each wing.
Surely the CN-235–300 tactical military transport plane will greatly enhance Bangladesh Army’s operational capabilities across the country. During natural calamities and disaster armed forces needs sufficient transport assets to propagate actual air mobility operations in the crisis area, which includes relief goods transport, MedEvac of affected peoples, surveillance & rescue (SAR) mission, damage identification & control. During peacetime it also can be used to observe border areas, forests damages, in military training & exercises, leasing the aircraft to the United States Peace Keeping Missions worldwide and for so many such roles. Recently Bangladesh Army started to renew and enhance its military operational capabilities to support the development of the nation.
For the purposes it should support civilian government in various ways like constructing roads, highways and other infrastructures in remote and rough terrain where it is needs to carry engineers, skilled workers, low weight building equipment, and likes. Besides these military roles there are other missions too for these two CN-235–300 aircraft, will also always be deployed during disaster, while flood across the country, tornadoes & hurricanes are normal phenomena in the coastal areas in a yearly basis.