The Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) is due to deploy an Aviation Unit under the United Nations Multidimensional Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic(MINUSCA) which has been established under chapter vi to viii of United Nations (UN) Security Council resolution 2149 (2014).
This is the first ever aircraft deployment by Sri Lanka and SLAF under a UN mandate in our history. Three (03) Mi-17 helicopters from the SLAF fleet along with 122 personnel consisting pilots, engineers and other supporting staff will proceed on the Mission as the No. 62 Helicopter Flight, which will be an extension of the No. 6 Helicopter Squadron. In addition to the main contingent, two Officers have been selected as Staff Officers, who will be based at the MINUSCA Headquarters to assist and coordinate the Aviation Unit during their deployment. This deployment is due to commence its role with effect from 15 September 2014.
Sri Lanka Air Force was selected for the mission through a competitive evaluation process by UN. The professionalism of its pilots, the technical expertise and know-how of its engineering elements along with the discipline of its entire force was considered at this evaluation process.
This achievement of the SLAF speaks volumes of the trust and confidence command by the entire military forces of Sri Lanka and would go a long way in boosting the Nation’s image further in the international arena. Besides, this endeavour would bring substantial economic gains to the country as well.
This helicopter deployment will be tasked to carry out VIP transportation, transportation of food and equipment, domestic flying, para dropping and medical evacuation in the Central African Republic, in support of the overall UN mandate for that nation.
Another SLAF Aviation Unit is presently undergoing final preparations to be deployed in South Sudan under the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) in the near future.
A Media Briefing was held to enlighten in this regard at the Air Force Headquarters on 09 September 2014 chaired by the Commander of the Air Force Air Marshal Kolitha Gunatilleke. Air Force Board of Management, Military Spokesperson Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya, representatives of electronic and printed media attended the briefing.