A product of St Benedict’s College Colombo, he joined the Air Force on 21st September 1951. He received his wings from the Prime Minister Rt Hon DS Senanayake upon completing his flying training in Chipmunk and subsequently on Balliol aircraft. The better part of his career was spent at RCyAF Station Katunayake. He served as a squadron pilot of No 2 Squadron where he later became Commanding Officer from 1964 to 1968. He also held the appointments of OC Administrative Wing and Station Commander of Katunayake.
Upon his arrival at headquarters he had the unique distinction of being the first officer of the General Duties (Pilot) branch to have held the post of Director Administration. He went on to hold the office of Director Operations, and Chief of Staff subsequently.
AVM Perera was also instrumental in reviving disused airfields located around the country. With the surge in operational flying from 1983 onwards, ACM Perera strengthened the Air Force with the acquisition of many new aircraft including the Bell 212, Bell 412, Siai Marchetti SF 260 TP and many more.
ACM Perera’s long and distinguished career was decorated by spells of training at the Air Command and Staff College USA and the National Defence College in India. In 1982, ACM Perera's long and distinguished service was rewarded when he was awarded the Vishista Seva Vibushanaya – the first Air Force Commander to receive this distinguished award. ACM Perera’s stint as the Commander concluded when he handed over command on 30 April 1985. He was promoted to the rank of Air Chief Marshal on 01 October 2007.