SLAF has marked an another important milestone in the history of SLAF by deploying its second fleet of MI 17 helicopters as the Sri Lanka aviation contingent at the United Nations Peace Keeping Mission in South Sudan. Initially the required logistics have been dispatched to Juba, South Sudan by air and sea. Three MI 17 helicopters were initially dispatched to Entebbe, Uganda by an AN 124 cargo aircraft on 07th June 2015 with the required technical and aircrew (23 personnel).
The team led by Wg Cdr PAV Samantha which included the 23 members of technical crew and aircrew assembled the three MI 17 helicopters at Entebbe, Uganda and carried out ground and air tests successfully. On 21st June 2015,three MI 17 helicopters flew from Entebbe, Uganda to Juba, the capital of South Sudan. These three helicopters carried some of the personnel and equipment on them. The remaining members of the Sri Lankan Aviation contingent (81 personnel) arrived at Juba on 22nd of June 2015. Total number of the members of Aviation contingent is 104.
Acceptances of the helicopters were carried out by two teams of South Sudan Civil Aviation and UN officials at the UNMISS HQ Juba on 23rd and 24th respectively. After successful completion of the inspections, the helicopters were flown to Bor, which is the permanent base of the Sri Lanka aviation unit. Sri Lanka Aviation contingent carried out two familiarization sorties on 29 June to a destination named “Pibore” which is 100Nm East of Bor before starting the operational missions.
The Sri Lanka Aviation Contingent is capable of performing Troop, Cargo and VIP transportations, MEDIVAC/CASEVAC, SAR Ops, Aerial reconnaissance and Helicopter special operations in numerous destinations within the area of responsibility and will continue to maintain highest professionalism and discipline in order to fly the Sri Lankan flag high in the UN as well as in the multinational arena.