Three Antonov-32 aircraft belonging to Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) arrived in the country last evening (June 11) on completion of their overhaul process.
Defence Secretary Gen. Kamal Gunaratne (Retd) graced the brief ceremony organized to welcome the refurbished Antonov-32 aircraft, as the Chief Guest at the SLAF Base, Katunayake yesterday.
Addressing media during the occasion, Gen. Gunaratne stated these aircraft would be used for maritime surveillance and reconnaissance duties including operations leading to cripple the seaborne drug smuggling ring, maritime piracy and also to brace disaster management and rlief operations in the country/overseas.
Recalling the enormous service rendered by the AN-32 aircraft during the battle, he said “these aircraft were heavily used for troop transportation and have also carried injured personnel and those sacrificed for the motherland”.
Further, he went on saying “AN-32 were grounded for seven years and flown to undertake repairs under the aegis of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in a bid to revive the SLAF duties while ensuring the airworthiness of aircraft”.
The returning of these aircraft today is an exclusive occasion for both the Defence Ministry and Sri Lanka Air Force, he added.
During the session, Defence Secretary and SLAF Commander Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana praised the aircrew for their dedicated service.
Mementoes were also exchanged to mark the occasion.