The first ever Dornier aircraft obtained from India will be inducted to Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) Fleet on 15th August to enhance the maritime surveillance capabilities of Sri Lanka.
The SLAF said during the Defence Dialog between India and Sri Lanka on 09th January 2018 in New Delhi, Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) sought the possibility of obtaining two (02) Dornier Reconnaissance Aircraft from India.
As a sequel to the request of the Sri Lankan government, the Indian government has agreed to provide one Dornier 228 Maritime Patrol Aircraft from Indian Naval Fleet on gratis basis for initial two years of the interim period since it would be required two years to manufacture new aircraft. Afterwards, the Indian Government expressed their assent to provide a brand new Dornier 228 Maritime Patrol Aircraft free of charge. Subsequently, another brand new Dornier 228 will be inducted to Sri Lanka Air Force through mutually agreed terms and conditions between both countries, the SLAF said.
The Indian Naval Dornier (INDO – 228) is a Short Take Off and Landing (STOL), multirole light transport aircraft with a turboprop twin-engine, produced since 1981. Dornier GmbH of Germany being the Original Equipment Manufacturer has produced 245 aircraft during the period of 1981-1998. Subsequently, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has commenced the production of Dornier aircraft, under the licence of Dornier GmbH since 1993.
The first ever Dornier will be inducted to SLAF Fleet on 15th August 2022 in a ceremonial procession under the patronage by President Ranil Wickramasinghe and Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay with the authentication by Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, General Kamal Gunerathne (Retd) and under the supervision by Commander of the Air Force, Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana at SLAF Base Katunayake.
The SLAF said the aircraft will be flown and maintained only by 15 SLAF crew who were specifically trained in India for a period of four months consisting with pilots, observers, engineering officers and technicians along with the supervision by Indian technical team attached to SLAF comprising of engineering officers and technicians. The team would undertake comprehensive supervision of aircraft, airframe, Aircraft Support Equipment, Ground Support Equipment, relevant documents and would ascertain the serviceability of all the assets.
The SLAF intends to effectively employ the Dornier aircraft specifically to conduct Maritime and Coastal Surveillance Operations within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), Search and Rescue Operations (SAR), Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC) and Maritime Pollution Monitoring and Control within Sri Lankan Search and Rescue Region (SRR) to attain SLAF ultimate vision of “Ensuring the National Security through Effective Employment of Airpower” within Sri Lankan Airspace.