New Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Air Force Appointed

Published on: 4:10pm on Tuesday 4th June 2019
New Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Air Force Appointed
The Commander of the Air Force, Air Marshal DLS Dias, appointed Air Vice Marshal Sudharshana Pathirana as the Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Air Force today, 4 June 2019.

Air Vice Marshal Pathirana who hails from Kandy is a proud product of Dharmaraja College, Kandy. He was one of the three pilots who were selected for advance flying training in Pakistan Air Force and secured the award for the Best Allied Flight Cadet by the Pakistan Air Force.He received his commission on 2nd January 1987 to the rank of Pilot Officer, in the General Duties (Pilot) Branch.

His operational career commenced as a reconnaissance pilot in the No 3 Maritime Squadron, based at SLAF Academy China-Bay. In 1990 he was selected to be among the first six SLAF pilots to convert to supersonic F7BS aircraft at No.5 Jet Squadron under the training of Chinese Instructors. He was then selected to move on to the more advanced Kfir fighter jets, gaining invaluable training experience at the hands of the Israelis. He took over duties as Officer Commanding Training, Officer Commanding Operations of the No 10 Fighter Squadron operating the Kfir fighters and later rose to become its Commanding Officer in 2002, a position that he would hold until the humanitarian operation was in force in 2007. He also had the unique opportunity to command all three fighter squadrons of the SLAF in the year 2000 as the Commanding Officer of No 5 Jet, No 10 Kfir Squadron and Acting Commanding Officer of No 12 Mig 27 Squadron. In addition to his military flying career he holds a Commercial Pilots License and is a Flying Examiner for the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka.

In addition to his service career in Sri Lanka Air Force, he served as the first Defence Attaché at the Embassy of Sri Lanka in the Russian Federation from 2007 to 2009. In December 2011 he was appointed as the Commandant of the Air Force Academy in China Bay. In June 2013, he was appointed as the Base Commander of the Air Force Base Katunayake and in January 2016, as the Base Commander, Ratmalana.

Air Vice Marshal Pathirana is a Fighter Pilot, a Flying Instructor and an active operational flyer who has flown over 3500 flying hours over 15 types of aircraft, including Kfir and F 7s. He has participated in almost all the major counter terrorist operations conducted in Sri Lanka and his bravery has been acknowledged through the award of gallantry awards six times. To date he holds the singular honor of having logged the highest number of Kfir operational sorties for any SLAF pilot throughout the operational history of the fighter aircraft.

He also boasts of an unblemished career record with the Sri Lanka Air Force as the senior most fighter pilot and as the most senior qualified flying instructor in the fixed wing stream.

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