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SRI LANKA AIR FORCE
GUARDIANS OF THE SKIES
SLAF History : Of Kfirs and UAVs
Infrastructural Support

Infrastructurally, Hingurakgoda was elevated to SLAF Base status the first Base Commander being Wg Cdr T.L.W. Dissanayake. The Aeronautical Engineering Wing began rewiring of Bell 212/412 helicopters in 1996. It also began to undertake the 1000 hour service on the 212 hitherto performed at Squadron level. In ground armament, a significant development was the 23 mm ZU23 anti-aircraft machine gun, which enhanced the SLAFs air defence capabilities.

A new Coastal Surveillance Control Centre (CSCC) was established at Anuradhapura in March 1996 to co-ordinate coastal surveillance activities of the Navy and Air Force. This was co-ordinated by the SLAF, with representation from the Army, Navy and Police Infrastructural Support

Excellence of Another Kind

This episode had its beginnings in 1993, when the SLAF established their own Command Quality Assurance Inspectorate, at Ratmalana Base. Initially the Quality Assurance programmes were put into practice under the guidance of the Director of Aeronautical Engineering.

In 1994, the Inspectorate was placed directly under the Commander of the Air Force. In 1996, the efforts made in maintaining the highest of standards paid off - the SLAF won Sri Lanka's National Quality Award for Excellence in the Large Scale Service Category!

Flying Operations - 1997

In 1997 the SLAF flew over 20,000 hours, operationally for the first time ever, logging 21,895 hours in total and they did this despite losing nine manned aircraft. The toll was 2 - Y12s, 2 - Mi-24s, 1 - AN 32B, 1 - Pucara, 1 - Siai Marchetti SF 260 TP, 1 - Bell 212, and 1 - Kfir C2. The Air Force supported 14 operations throughout 1997, of these, Operation Jayasikuru launched in May was one of the most significant.

Operation Jayasikuru was by far the most arduous undertaking for the SLAF. This we may glean from the sheer number of missions flown by SLAF aircraft. The Kfir jets flew 232 missions whilst the Mi-24 Attack Helicopters flew 127 missions and the Pucaras 13!
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