New Air Force Chief of Staff

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces granted approval to appoint Air Vice Marshal Prasanna Payoe as the Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Air Force, with effect from March 9, 2021.

Accordingly, Commander of the Air Force, Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana, officially handed over the letter of appointment to Air Vice Marshal Prasanna Payoe.

Air Vice Marshal MDAP Payoe joined the Sri Lanka Air Force as an Officer Cadet in the General Duties Pilot Branch in 1985. Having undergone his Basic Combat Training at the Combat Training School in Diyatalawa and Basic Flying Training at Air Force Academy China Bay, he proceeded to Pakistan for further flying training. Having graduated as a military pilot in Pakistan in 1988 he was commissioned in the rank of Pilot Officer and was initially posted to No. 4 Helicopter Squadron. Since then, in the capacity of an operational helicopter pilot, he took part in almost every major operation conducted during the terrorist conflict in the Island.

Air Vice Marshal Payoe is qualified on Bell 206, Bell 212, Bell 412 and Mi 24 helicopters. He has 7200 flying hours to his credit after having engaged in VIP, VVIP, combat and search and rescue missions. He commanded No. 7 Helicopter Squadron, No. 9 Attack Helicopter Squadron and the No 4 VVIP Helicopter Squadron. Air Vice Marshal Payoe has also commanded SLAF Stations Katukurunda and Colombo and also served in the capacity of the Chief Instructor of the Air Wing at Defence Services Command and Staff College Sapugaskanda on two occasions. Air Vice Marshal Payoe also had the privilege of Commanding SLAF Bases Vavuniya and Katunayake. A notable feat in his career was being appointed as the Sri Lankan Defence Attaché to the Russia Federation. In 2019, Air Vice Marshal Payoe joined the Air Force Board of Management as the Director Training. He held the appointment of Director Air Operations before being appointed as the Chief of Staff of the SLAF today.

For his bravery he has been awarded with the Rana Wickrama Padakkama and Rana Sura Paddakkama.


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