By Zulfick Farzan
COLOMBO (News 1st); No 10 Fighter Squadron of the Sri Lanka Air Force celebrated its 26th
The No 10 Fighter Squadron was founded on 5th January 1996 with the induction of five (5) new graceful tailless delta Kfir single seaters and a twin seater based at SLAF Katunayake under the command of Sqn Ldr P Gunasinghe.
The Squadron was reinforced in the year 2000 with the arrival of nine (9) aircraft which included another trainer increasing the squadron aircraft inventory up to fifteen (15) fighters.
The subsequent addition of C7 variant was significant to enhance the SLAF much needed payload capability which equipped with advanced weapon systems and avionics onboard.
The delta was designed as a multi role all whether day night fighter which ticked all the boxes of SLAF’s requirement of a single platform capable of Battlefield Air Strike, Air Interception, Air Interdiction, Maritime Air strikes with deadly accuracy.
At the commencement the No 10 Fighter Squadron was strengthened with four (4) pilots, four (4) engineering officers and seventy (70) technicians who were soundly trained by IAI technical expertise’s and instructor pilots from Israel.
The present Commander of the Air Force, Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana was one of the elite pilots of the No 10 Fighter Squadron, along aside with Wing Commander (Retd) Janaka Wijetilleke and Group Captain (Retd) Sajeewa Hendawitharane, The Commander was appointed as the first Officer Commanding Operations and subsequently went on to command the Squadron as its second Commanding Officer from 7th of June 2000.
Kfir was the first aircraft to be inducted to SLAF with a Head Up Display (HUD) and an integrated weapons delivery and navigation system (INS). In addition to the immense maximum payload of 5.5 tons, the Kfir has two 30mm cannon guns to enhance its air to air capabilities.
The lion cub with its formidable firepower and accuracy was able to destroy and neutralize the strong holds, ammunition/fuel depots, troop concentrations/ reinforcements, maritime elements and artillery positions of the LTTE, effectively reducing the ground troops resistance to advance. Since its inception, the Squadron has logged more than 2,800 of operational flying hours and has delivered over 3,500 tons of weapons accurately over enemy targets.
Further, with the instigation of precision guided munitions (PGM) and targeting systems No 10 Fighter Squadron contributed its effort promptly and effectively whenever it was called upon with distinction and honour, performing multitude tasks continuously showcasing its true potential as a multiroler. The results of these efforts were clearly manifested in the nation’s ultimate victory over terrorism. On 08 March 2009 then President Mahinda Rajapaksa awarded the No. 10 Fighter Squadron with the President’s Colours for its unique and enduring contribution to eliminate the terrorism which pestered the island nation for over three decades.
As it celebrates it’s 26th Anniversary, No 10 fighter Squadron is under a transformation with the feet upgradation to C12 version which will drive its limits further with the instigation of highly sophisticated avionics, navigation and weapon systems. With these new aspects the squadron would render its service to the nation in the near future as the leading fighting force of SLAF defending all three territorial domains. With the endowing effort and commitment of air and ground crew the No 10 Fighter Squadron will continue to thrive in future with capabilities second to none of the regional air forces with the newest updates and highly trained personnel, keeping the Air Force ensign flying high.
Courtesy - www.newsfirst.lk