8:33pm on Monday 12th September 2022
Air Vice Marshal Prasantha Payoe RWP, RSP, USP, MSc (NSWS - Pak), ndc (Pak), psc bid adieu to the Sri Lanka Air Force today (12 September 2022) after completion 37 years of dedicated service to the nation. At the time of his retirement, he held the appointment of Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Air Force.

Air Vice Marshal Payoe made an official farewell call on the Commander of the Air Force, Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana at his office today. The Commander commended him for his dedicated long years of service rendered to the Nation and to the Sri Lanka Air Force in particular. The Commander also emphasized that he was one of the key stakeholders during the time of need of our motherland and that his heroic history will remain etched in the annals of the SLAF. The Commander and the Air Vice Marshal exchanged mementos to mark the occasion. After which, he was accorded a Ceremonial Guard of Honour by the SLAF Colour Wing at the same day (12 September 2022) before his departure from the Air Force Headquarters for the last time.

Air Vice Marshal Prasantha Payoe was born in Badulla on 12th September 1967. He is a proud product of St. Thomas College, Bandarawela who was a keen student and all-round performer during his school days.
He joined the Sri Lanka Air Force on 16th of December 1985 into the 15th Intake as an Officer Cadet and was commissioned as a Pilot Officer in the General Duties Pilot Branch in the year 1987. Having undergone his Basic Combat Training at the Combat Training School Diyatalawa and performed Basic Flying Training at Air Force Academy China Bay with distinction, he proceeded to Pakistan for further flying training. Having graduated as a military pilot in Pakistan in 1988 and then, he was commissioned in the rank of Pilot Officer who was initially posted to No. 4 Helicopter Squadron. Since then, in the capacity of an operational helicopter pilot, he took part in almost every major operation conducted during the terrorist conflict in the Island. Air Vice Marshal Payoe, at the same time steadily achieved the professional milestones in his career while holding the captaincy of a number of various rotor wing aircraft.

He was initially trained in the Cessna 150 and the Chipmunk in Sri Lanka and Mushak MFI 17 and T 37 aircraft in Pakistan. After returning to Sri Lanka he became qualified in Bell 206, Bell 212, Bell 412 and Mi 24 helicopters. He has accumulated 7200 flying hours to his credit after having engaged in VVIP, VIP, combat and search and rescue missions. He commanded No. 7 Helicopter Squadron and No. 9 Attack Helicopter Squadron at SLAF Base Hingurakgoda before being appointed as the Commanding Officer of SLAF Station Katukurunda in 2004. From 2005 to 2008 he commanded No 4 VVIP Squadron at SLAF Base Katunayake. After completion of the Staff Course, he was appointed as the Base Commander of SLAF Base Vavuniya. He was then appointed as the Chief Instructor of the Air Wing at Defence Services Command and Staff College Sapugaskanda. Air Vice Marshal Payoe attained a notable feat in his career when he was entrusted with the prestigious appointment of the Sri Lankan Defence Attaché to the Russian Federation in 2010. Having served a successful tenure in Moscow Russia, he was again assigned to the Defence Services Command and Staff College as the Chief Instructor of the Air Wing from 1st August 2012 before being appointed as the Base Commander of Sri Lanka Air Force Base Vavuniya for a second term. Air Vice Marshal Payoe also commanded SLAF Station Colombo as the Commanding Officer and SLAF Base Katunayake as the Base Commander. He was appointed as the Director Training and the Director Air Operations before being appointed as the Chief of Staff on 09 March 2021.

He has followed a number of overseas training courses including Junior Command and Staff Course in India, Flight Safety Course in Pakistan, Higher Defence Orientation Course in India, Aircraft Accident Investigation Course in Pakistan and Search and Rescue Administration Course in Singapore. He has attended a number of conferences and combined exercises in Japan, Thailand, Russia, Alaska and Guam representing the SLAF. He is a proud product of the Defence Services Command and Staff College Sapugaskanda, Sri Lanka and a graduate of the National Defence University, Islamabad, Pakistan in National Security and War Seminar. For his bravery he has been awarded with the Rana Wickrama Padakkama and Rana Sura Paddakkama.



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