Three SLAF An-32 aircraft return home
Three Antonov An-32 aircraft belonging to Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) arrived in the country on Friday evening (11 June) on completion of their overhaul process, the Defence Ministry said. “Previously, these An-32 aircraft had been grounded for seven years, before being subsequently flown overseas for repairs on the direction of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, in a bid to revive SLAF’s operations, while ensuring the airworthiness of aircraft,” Defence Secretary General (Retired) Kamal Gunaratne said. He was speaking at a ceremony organised to welcome the refurbished An-32 aircraft, as the Chief Guest at the SLAF Base, Katunayake.
Gunaratne said these aircraft would be used for maritime surveillance and reconnaissance duties, including operations leading to the crippling of the seaborne drug smuggling ring, maritime piracy, and also to brace for disaster management and relief operations in the country/overseas.
Recalling the service rendered by the An-32 aircraft during the war, he said, “these aircraft were heavily used for troop transport and have also carried injured personnel and those who sacrificed their lives for the motherland.” The returning of these aircraft today is an exclusive occasion for both the Defence Ministry and Sri Lanka Air Force, he added. (PA)