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Sri Lanka Air Force reveals ambitious aircraft acquisition plans

Air Force Commander Udeni Rajapaksa said today that the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) has embarked on several programmes aimed at modernizing its fleet and enhancing operational capabilities to meet future challenges effectively.
During a media briefing, the Commander outlined the Sri Lanka Air Force’s comprehensive strategy to bolster its technological prowess and aircraft inventory.

He said that the SLAF has submitted requests to the US Air Force for the acquisition of two C130 aircraft, with negotiations underway to secure newer models than those currently in possession. ” The SLAF has already procured two new Y12 aircraft of Chinese origin as part of its fleet expansion efforts,” the Commander said.

The Commander said the SLAF is set to acquire two Beach King Air aircraft, one from the United States and another from Australia, comprising the 360ER and KA 350 models, respectively. “These aircraft will be dedicated to bolstering maritime domain awareness, a critical aspect of safeguarding Sri Lanka’s interests in the Indian Ocean region,” he said.

“With peace being paramount for sustainable development, it is incumbent upon the SLAF, as guardians of the sky, to protect the airspace over the Indian Ocean,” Air Marshal Rajapaksa said.

He stressed the importance of understanding and dominating the maritime domain to ensure national security and stability.

Addressing the SLAF’s strategic priorities, Commander reiterated the focus on maintaining a strong defense while actively engaging in United Nations peacekeeping missions.

He highlighted the dual benefits of participating in UN missions, citing both income generation for the country and enhanced reputation for the SLAF on the global stage.

As part of its modernization efforts, the Commander said that SLAF is in discussions with various countries for the potential induction of helicopters and training aircraft to facilitate pilot training and operational readiness.

In addition, he said plans are underway to overhaul existing aircraft, such as the MI-17 helicopters, to support increased participation in UN missions and further enhance Sri Lanka’s standing in international peacekeeping efforts.

Daily Mirror
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