‘Real Time’ Officially Handed over to SLAF by USA
10:43am on Saturday 21st August 2010
Strengthening military ties between the two countries, the sophisticated Real Time Data Link system facility was officially handed over to the Sri Lanka Air Force by the Government of United States last afternoon at  the Air Force Base, Ratmalana.

Providing a fitting venue for the event, the handing over of the equipment took place in the main hanger of the No.8 Light Transport Aircraft Squadron where two Beech King Air aircraft equipped with the Real Time Data Link flanked by the distinguished gathering of invitees.

Addressing the gathering, Chief of Defense Staff and Commander of the Air Force Air Chief Marshal Roshan Goonetileke said that the exchange of this cutting edge technology marks a significant venture in the history of military surveillance between the two countries.

 “Surveillance was an extremely important aspect for us as the geographical positioning of our country is in a prominent position in the maritime route,” said the Air Chief  extending his thanks to the US Government for their support in this venture. The Commander also spoke of a future in which he hoped that both countries could assist each other in monitoring movements in the high seas and for enhancing surveillance activities.

Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S Embassy, Valerie Fowler was Chief Guest at the event. Also present was Chief of National Air Guard Major Gen Wong, who was on his maiden trip to Sri Lanka, and several other US military representatives currently stationed in the Island. A number of top SLAF officials and staff of the Ratmalana Air Force Base were also in attendance.

Ms. Fowler praised the close coordination and cooperation between SLAF and the US Embassy. “The shared interest between the two countries in domain awareness and maritime surveillance will be greatly assisted by the usage of this equipment”, she added.

Following the address, a special token of appreciation, commemorating the event was presented to the Chef Guest by the Air Force Commander. To get a firsthand look at the function of this technologically advanced system, special invitees were invited to step aboard the SMR 2201 aircraft and see its operations.

Highlighting the immense capabilities of the Real Time Data Link system, Major Gen. Wong explained how the equipment can be of immense use in times of natural disaster, fires, earthquakes or floods. He explained how similar usage is already being conducted in Hawai in times of natural disaster adding that, “it’s a great thing for two Air Forces to come together for such ventures”

The acquisition of the Real Time Data Link system marks a significant venture in the history of the Sri Lanka Air Force as it has several important functions. Possessing the ability to transfer live data footage to locations this equipment has been used by SLAF for flood relief operations and sea surveillance. Monitoring of state developments projects such as the Sothern Highway, Homagama International Stradium, Sooriyawewa International Cricket grounds and Norocholai Power Plant has also been conducted through the Real Time Data Link System. In addition live coverage of special state events such as the Victory Parade and the recently concluded water filling ceremony of the Hambantota Harbour has also been provided through this system.  

Sri Lanka Air Force is currently equipped with two Beech aircraft, SMR 2201 and SMR 2202 which deploys this surveillance system which in the future will continue to assist the nation in its ventures whether humanitarian or development oriented.



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