New Air Force Chief of Staff appointed

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces, approve the appointment of Air Vice Marshal Udeni Rajapaksa as Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Air Force, with effect from 12 September 2022.

Air Force Commander, Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana, officially handed over the letter of appointment to Air Vice Marshal Udeni Rajapaksa.

Air Vice Marshal RAUP Rajapaksa RSP and two Bars, USP, MSc (MOA) USA, MSc (Def Stu) in Mgt, MA in IS&S (UK), BSc (Def Stu), MIM (SL), rcds, psc joined the Air Force as an Officer Cadet in the General Duties Pilot Branch in 1988. Having undergone his basic combat training at Kotelawala Defence Academy, basic flying training at No. 1 Flying Training Wing, Air Force Base Anuradhapura and having performed with distinction, he became the best flight cadet in the 33rd Flight Cadets’ course. He was commissioned as a pilot officer in the General Duties Pilots Branch in 1990 as a graduate of the Kotelawala Defence Academy. Since then, in the capacity of operational scale, he took part in almost every major operation during the separatist conflict.

He executed a night ejection from a Pucara aircraft in 1997, while on an operational bombing mission at night and has been commended for handling a serious emergency situation during a combat mission.

He has also been recognised by the Martin Baker Aircraft Company who offered him a membership in the world renowned “Ejection Tie Club”. 

He has followed a number of overseas training courses including Junior Command and Staff Course in Bangladesh, Flight Safety Officers Course in Pakistan and Advanced Security Cooperation Course in the US. Furthermore, Air Vice Marshal Rajapaksa has also made many academic achievements completing his Bachelor’s Degree in Defence Studies and graduating with merit in Master of Science in Defence Studies in Management from Sir John Kotelawala Defence University.

Air Vice Marshal Rajapaksa holds the appointment of Chairman of Sri Lanka Air Force Athletic Association and has been awarded Sri Lanka Air Force Colours for Tennis in 2010. He is the only Airman who has won Commander’s Cup Eagles’ Challenge trophy (in 2021). He has also been awarded Sri Lanka Air Force Colours for Golf in 2021.