UNITED NATIONS ORGANIZATION MISSION IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO/ THE UNITED NATIONS ORGANIZATION STABILIZATION MISSION IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO (MONUC/MONUSCO)

 

BAF contingent was deployed on 09 July 03 with an Aviation Unit and an Air field Support Unit (ASU) in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for UN peace keeping operation named as MONUC under chapter VII. The units were deployed in the north-eastern Congo at Bunia. It may be mentioned that it was for the first time in the history of BAF that such a large contingent was deployed abroad on wet lease meaning that the contingent ought to sustain itself independently without outside support. Later, in the month of June 10, with a new requirement of UN under special consideration BAF deployed 01 x C-130B aircraft to meet up the challenge of UN in MONUSCO, DR Congo. Air Field Support Unit is tasked to provide services for the sustenance of Bunia airfield and the Aviation Unit is primarily responsible for providing air support to the troops in the area of responsibility. The contingent has 06 x Mi-17 helicopters in its inventory.

The Major activities currently performed by the Air field support unit encompass air traffic control, flight following service, meteorological forecast, cargo and passenger handling, security check of military personnel and cargo, crash fire and rescue, marshalling and towing of all UN flights. These wide ranges of activities are efficiently handled by the ASU. As such, the unit has received `Letter of Appreciation’ from the MONUC authority in recognition. It is worth mentioning that ASU provided services to more than 9000 flights which bears the testimony to the true professional commitment of all personnel of ASU. The contingent members earned a very admirable reputation of professional excellence among the international community of the UN. Because of the poor transportation network in the country, air transportation became the primary means of communication, to sustain UN peace keeping operation over such a vast and formidable country.

It may be mentioned here that, in the absence of any road, railway or river link, Bunia air field is one of the most important gateways to the North Eastern Ituri province of DR Congo and BAF ASU is entrusted with the responsibilities of keeping this gateway open to the world. The Aviation unit operates in collaboration with the Ukrainian Mi-24 helicopters to meet the operational requirements of the ITURI Brigade. Out of all the missions of Aviation Unit, Air Mobile Operation was the most demanding and challenging in support of all the army units of Bangladesh, Uruguay, Pakistan, Nepal, Indonesia and Morocco. It is worth mentioning here that BANAIR conducted the recovery operation of 09 dead bodies of Bangladesh Army personnel in DR Congo and earned appreciation. MONUC is highly contented with the performance of BANAIR notably for incident free flying conducted by Aviation Unit as well as for professional excellence displayed by ASU. 865 x officers, 2379 x airmen/MODC and 403 x civilian from Bangladesh Air Force served this mission so far.