Sri Lanka Air Force celebrates 70th anniversary today

Sudarshana Pathirana - 18th Air Force Commander of Sri Lanka

The Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF), the defenders of Sri Lanka’s skies proudly celebrates its 70th Anniversary today (March 02), under the able guidance of its 18th Commander Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana.

The Royal Ceylon Air Force (RCyAF) was established on March 2, 1951. The RCyAF was the youngest of Ceylon’s defence services.

On May 22, 1972 when Ceylon became a Republic, the Royal Ceylon Air Force transformed into the Sri Lanka Air Force.

The Royal Ceylon Air Force was established on March 22, 1951 with six officers and 21 Other Rankers, and today it comprises 20 branches and 73 trades with 34,000 officers and other rankers.

The Air Force has come a long way from its humble beginnings and today possesses Kfir and F7 jets, transport crafts such as AN 32, C130, MA 60 and Y12 and helicopters comprising Bell 212, Bell 412, MI17 and MI24 and is geared to face the future as a fully-fledged Air Force.

As the Air Force celebrates its glorious journey today, in line with its 70th Anniversary, 467 officers and 7,290 Other Rankers will also be promoted.

The events planned in line with the 70th Anniversary will commence today (March 2) at the SLAF base in Katunayake and many events have been organised. The highlight of the celebrations is a special Air Show that will take place on March 3, 4 and 5 at 5.00 pm at the Galle Face Green with Indian aerobatics teams comprising an aircraft team and a helicopter team, enhancing the air show at Galle Face. The Commander noted that while the Indian Air Force will deploy 14 aircraft for the event, 24 aircraft of the Sri Lanka Air Force will also display their capabilities at the air show which is bound to enthrall spectators. It will be telecast live on Channel Eye.

(Source: Daily News – By Camelia Nathaniel)