Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana assumed duties as the 18th Commander of the Sir Lanka Air Force this morning (3 November 2020) at the Air Force Headquarters in Colombo.
After being promoted to the three star rank of Air Marshal by the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in his capacity as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces with effect from Monday (02 November 2020) today marks the new Commander’s first day of taking over official duties.
After being accorded a Guard of Honor by the Air Force Colour Wing, Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana made his inaugural address to the entire Air Force as its 18th Commander.
In his inaugural address to the Air Force, Air Marshal Pathirana thanked the President for placing trust in him and appointing him as the 18th Commander of the Air Force. He also conveyed his gratitude to the Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Secretary of Defense, Major General (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne for their belief in him.
Air Marshal Pathirana said he will use the experience gained through his 35 years of service, of being an active participant of combat air operations during the 30 year long fight against terrorism and managerial skills developed through local and foreign training, to lift the Sir Lanka Air Force to heights second to none.
He emphasized that he intends to focus the efforts of the Air Force towards 4 main goals.
Firstly, improving the attack and air support capabilities of the Air Force with prompt maintenance of the aircraft fleet and with timely new acquisitions.
Secondly, improving maritime surveillance and maritime disaster management capabilities of the Air Force with the employment of cutting edge technologies to protect and preserve the resources within the exclusive economic zone for future generations.
Thirdly, to develop the air power and technical competencies of the Air Force in order to better equip this organization to face future treats to our nation with special emphasis on unmanned aerial vehicles and on cyber security.
Finally, the development of air power in order to face any natural calamity which may occur in future and to safe guard the people and property from such calamities. Air Marshal Pathirana invited all SLAF personnel to support him in achieving the said goals.