Sri Lanka Aviation Contingent at United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) successfully carried out an underslung operation in order to recover a French Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) on 29th March 2018.
The French UAV had made an emergency landing in a remote jungle area called “Bakala” which is 168km away from Sri Lanka Aviation Base in Bria, Central African Republic. The operation was entrusted to the Sri Lanka Aviation Unit by the MINUSCA Force Headquarters and the Sri Lanka Aviation Contingent utilized a MI 171SH Helicopter for the operation.
Initially, the support team including Portuguese Special forces and French Army (STRIX) team were expelled near to the crashed site by a MI 17 helicopter of the Pakistan Army Aviation in order to secure and clear area. Upon confirmation from the team, the Sri Lanka Aviation helicopter conducted the under slung operation and airlifted the UAV to the nearest MINUSCA Aviation Facility at “Bambari”, which is 60km away from the recovery zone. The operation was led by the Sri Lanka Aviation Contingent Commander, Wing Commander Rasanga De Zoysa as the Captain Pilot and Squadron Leader Viraj Weeraman as the Co-Pilot. The French UAV technicians dismantled the UAV with the support of Sri Lanka Aviation aircraft technicians and secured the avionics at “Bambari”.
After the successful accomplishment of the operation, the joint operational capability with multiple nations, and the competency of the Sri Lankan pilots, Flight engineers, Air gunners, Load masters and technical crew were highly appreciated by the MINUSCA Force Headquarters.