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Sri Lanka 01Sri Lanka Air Force

Small but potent and combat-tested, the Sri Lanka Air Force operates a variety of interesting aircraft. We provide a base-by-base overview of the situation back in 2011.

Colombo/Bandaranaike Intl - Katunayake

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The heavy transports moved from Ratmalana to the international airport. The former British C-130Ks are operated by 2sq, two of which survive.

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Four An-32B are operated by 2sq too.

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All of the front line fighter aircraft are based at the International airport too. Two main variants of the F-7 are used. The F-7BS is the older version delivered in 1991.

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Whereas the F-7GS is the 'cranked-wing' version that entered service with 5sq in 2007/2008.

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Just a single dual seat aircraft was obtained.

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Sri Lanka was one of the few export customers for the Israeli Kfir. No.10sq still operates these veterans.

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Civil traffic has to make way as a Kfir retuns from a sortie.

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Some think the TC2 variant looks a bit ungainly, we just think it is awesome!

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Last unit at Katunayake Air Base, as the military side of the airport is known, is the Aircraft Engineering Wing. They perform maintenance on current fighter types.

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Also, they keep the now withdrawn MiG-23UB in storage...

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...as well as the mighty MiG-27 that was still operational when we visited back in 2011.

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Apart from the MiG-27 War reserve, a line-up of various helicopters awaiting overhaul can usually be found at the back of the Aircraft Engineering Wing's hangars.

Colombo/Ratmalana

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SLAF's VVIP helicopter and light transport hub is located at Ratmalana, also the home of the Air Force Museum. Chinese built Y-12 Pandas are in use as medium transports.

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The Beech 200 is operated in various subtypes. Seen here is the B200, SLAF also has dedicated reconnaissance variants.

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Helicopters for VVIP use are gloss black Bell 412EPs of 4sq often using the same serial. The squadron also has some regular Bell 212s.


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Trincomalee/China Bay

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China Bay is the place were SLAF pilots are trained. They start on the Ce150...

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...and continue on the CJ6, a Chinese development of the Yak-52.

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Fighter pilots then proceed to the K-8 Karakorum.

Anuradhapura

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Also in the Northern half of the country is helicopter base Anuradhapura. It houses the Mi-17 fleet of 6sq. Seen here is a Mi-171.

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These helicopters are usually detached and dispersed around the country.

Hingarukgoda/Minneriya

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Main helicopter base is Hingarukgoda. Here 7sq uses two vairants of Bell helicopters. The Bell 206...

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...and the Bell 212.

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Of course, apart from transports like the Bell 212, the attack helicopters of 9sq also have their domicile here. This is a Mi-35V being tested after some maintenance was performed.

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The Mi-35P is the export version of the twin-barelled Mi-24P. But most numerous is the V model.

This concludes our overview, well not quite, we could not resist this MiG-23UB as a tribute to SLAF's heritage.

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