Defence Ministry proposes new Naval Air Force wing


The present threats emanating from the Indian Ocean due to Sri Lanka’s geostrategic location has called for establishment of a Naval-Air Force wing to secure our waters with greater surveillance and striking capabilities, stated the Secretary to the Ministry of Defense today. 

He also proposed that a Joint Naval Command with the Air Force be set up with a Joint Communication Network with air and maritime capabilities.

Such a network, said the Defense Secretary, Kapila Waidyaratne will go in “hand in hand with air force intelligence and reconnaissance services which will be modernized to better improve maritime domain awareness”.

This would also led to a better centralized command and control intelligence structure to develop enhance situational applications, he added.

Being an island strategically located, Sri Lanka is well aware of its significant position in a world influenced by maritime geopolitics, said the Defense Secretary. 

Addressing the two day, 3rd Colombo Air Symposium, he delivered his the key note address on ‘Air Power in Addressing Asymmetric Threats’ at the Eagle Lakeside Convention Hall in Atthidiya.

The Sri Lankan Air force which engaged in asymmetric warfare during the Eelam war has found that it can be of significant use in assisting the navy through its greater reach, speed and ability to garner important intelligence not directly available to a naval force.

“It is due to this that the government believes that we should develop air capabilities both in traditional and non-traditional spheres. Sri Lanka was once lagging behind its regional peers, in research and development, both in civil and military developments but this will is soon expected to change with such forums and I hope the Air force will gain knowledge to become regional leader in air capabilities”, added Waidyaratne. 

On the part of the government, the Secretary Defense said they had supplied the Naval-Airforce wing with unmanned aircrafts (UAV) and stressed that the SLAF stay abreast of the latest in the field of technology and that asymmetric plans be constantly modified.

The UAVs which were effectively used against the LTTE were indigenized and further developed by the SLAF during the war and the Defense Secretary said they would work on further developing research on these crafts, “UAV aircrafts will be leading future air battles and surveillance”, said Waidyaratne.

He added these developments in security would also be used for benefit of the public in future.  

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