Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) will induct the first-ever Dornier 228 Maritime Patrol Aircraft to its fleet on August 15 (Monday) under the comradeship of neighbouring India.
The induction will be done in a ceremonial procession under the patronage of President Ranil Wickremesinghe and High Commissioner of India Gopal Baglay with the authentication by Secretary to Defence Ministry, General Kamal Gunaratne (Retd.) and under the supervision of Ari Force Commander, Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana at SLAF Base in Katunayake.
During the Defence Dialog between India and Sri Lanka on January 09, 2018 in New Delhi, the Sri Lankan government had sought the possibility of obtaining 02 Dornier Reconnaissance Aircraft from India to enhance the maritime surveillance capabilities of Sri Lanka.
As a sequel to the request from Sri Lanka, India agreed to provide 01 Dornier 228 Maritime Patrol Aircraft from Indian Naval Fleet on gratis basis for first two years of the interim period since it would be required two years to manufacture new aircraft.
Afterwards, the Indian government expressed their assent to provide a brand-new Dornier 228 Maritime Patrol Aircraft free of charge.
Subsequently, another brand-new Dornier 228 will be inducted to Sri Lanka Air Force through mutually agreed terms and conditions between both countries.
The Indian Naval Dornier (INDO – 228) is a Short Take Off and Landing (STOL), multirole light transport aircraft with a turboprop twin-engine, produced since 1981.
Dornier GmbH of Germany being the Original Equipment Manufacturer has produced 245 aircraft during the period of 1981-1998. Subsequently, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited commenced the production of Dornier aircraft, under the license of Dornier GmbH since 1993.
Accordingly, the first-ever Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft to be inducted to Sri Lanka Air Force, will be flown and maintained only by a crew of 15 SLAF personnel who were specifically trained in India for a period of four months consist with pilots, observers, engineering officers and technicians along with the supervision by the Indian government’s technical team attached to SLAF comprising of engineering officers and technicians.
The team would undertake comprehensive supervision of aircraft, airframe, Aircraft Support Equipment, Ground Support Equipment, relevant documents and would ascertain the serviceability of all the assets.
The SLAF says it intends to effectively employ the Dornier aircraft specifically to conduct Maritime and Coastal Surveillance Operations within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), Search and Rescue Operations (SAR), Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC) and Maritime Pollution Monitoring and Control within Sri Lankan Search and Rescue Region (SRR) to attain SLAF ultimate vision of “Ensuring the National Security through Effective Employment of Airpower” within Sri Lankan Airspace. – ada derana