COMMANDER OF THE SRI LANKA AIR FORCE
AIR MARSHAL
SK PATHIRANA
WWV and Bar, RWP and Bar, RSP and three Bars, VSV, USP, MSc (MOA) USA, MSc (Def Stu) in Mgt, M Phil (Ind), MIM(SL), ndc (Ind), psc, qfi

Born on 30th December 1965, Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana is a proud product of Dharmaraja College Kandy. Having joined the SLAF as an Officer Cadet on 2nd July 1985, he completed his Basic Ground Training at Diyatalawa, securing the award for the Best Cadet of the 14th Officer Cadets Course. He was a member of the first batch of pilots who were selected for advance flying training in the Pakistan Air Force and secured the award for the Best Allied Flight Cadet by the Pakistan Air Force. Air Marshal Pathirana was commissioned in the rank of Pilot Officer on 2nd January 1987 at the PAF Academy, Risalpur, Pakistan. Initially commencing his career in the Sri Lanka Air Force as a Reconnaissance pilot, he subsequently transited to Light Transport flying prior to moving into fast jets as a member of the first batch of pilots to fly supersonic aircraft in Sri Lanka. He commanded No 5 Fighter and subsequently No 10 Fighter Squadrons flying the Kfir C 2 / C 7 extensively. Air Marshal Pathirana is a qualified flying instructor and a flying examiner. In addition to Kfir and F-7 fighters he is qualified in over 10 types of aircraft earning him over 3,500 flying hours. In addition, he holds a Commercial Pilots License and is a Flying Examiner for the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka.

Air Marshal Pathirana followed his Junior Command and Staff Course at the Command and Staff and Training Institute, Bangladesh and he also earned the distinction of attending the esteemed Air Command and Staff Collage, Air University US Air Force, Alabama, USA, where he became the first Sri Lankan Air Force Officer to obtain the prestigious Masters in Operational Art and Science awarded by the Air University, Alabama, USA. In the year 2004 he successfully read for his 2nd Master’s Degree (Defence Studies) in Management awarded by the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University where he become first in the order of merit. He attended the National Defence College, New Delhi, India which earned him the distinguished title “ndc” and was awarded a Master in Philosophy from the University of Chennai in 2012.

In recognition of his unblemished and distinguished service, Air Marshal Pathirana has been awarded with the “Vishishta Seva Vibhushanaya” and the “Uttama Seva Padakkama”. For his gallant and selfless contribution during the humanitarian operations Air Marshal Pathirana has awarded with gallantry medals on 8 occasions. Namely, “Weera Wickrama Vibhushanaya” twice, “Rana Wickrama Padakkama” twice and “Rana Sura Padakkama” on four occasions.

Air Marshal Pathirana later went on to command three Air Bases, which includes a tenure as the Commandant of the Air Force Academy. He was appointed to the Air Force Board of Management in 2017 as the Director Air Operations prior to being appointed as the Commander, he served as the Chief of Staff from 2019 onwards.

Air Marshal Pathirana is an avid golfer and also served as the Chairman of SLAF Golf having previously served as the Chairman SLAF Athletics. He is married to Chamini and is the loving father of Bhashini and Vinura.

Career timeline –
• 1985 - Enlisted as an Officer Cadet of 14th Intake of Officer Cadets
• 1987 - Commissioned in the rank of Pilot Officer
• 1987 - Operational pilot – No 3 Maritime Squadron
• 1989 - Operational pilot – No 2 Transport Wing
• 1990 - Operational pilot – No 5 Fighter Squadron
• 1995 - OC Operations / Commanding Officer – No 10 Fighter Squadron
• 2007 - Counsellor (Defence) – Embassy of Sri Lanka in the Russian Federation
• 2009 - Deputy Military Liaison Officer – Ministry of Defence
• 2012 - Commandant, Air Force Academy, China Bay
• 2013 - Base Commander, SLAF Base Katunayake
• 2015 - Base Commander, SLAF Base Ratmalana
• 2017 - Director Air Operations, Sri Lanka Air Force
• 2019 - Chief of Staff, Sri Lanka Air Force

Education / Qualifications / Distinctions
• Best Allied Flight Cadet - Advanced Flying Training Course, PAF Academy, Risalpur, Pakistan
• All Purpose Flying Instructors’ Course, Flying Instructors School, IAF Tambram, India
• Graduate – Air Command and Staff College, Air University, Maxwell AFB Alabama, USA
• Flying Examiner - Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka
• MSc (Management) – Merit pass and First in order of Merit – General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University
• MSc – Military Operational Art – Air University, Maxwell AFB Alabama, USA
• Diploma in Air Field Management, University of Ukraine
• Graduate – National Defence College, New Delhi, India
• M Phil – University of Chennai, India
• Graduate – Asia Pacific Strategic Studies, Hawaii, USA

Decorations and Awards
• Weera Wickrama Vibhushanaya and bar
• Rana Wickrama Padakkama and bar
• Rana Sura Padakkama and three bars
• Vishishta Seva Vibhushanaya
• Uttama Seva Padakkama
• Videsha Seva Padakkama
• Sri Lanka Air Force 50th Anniversary medal
• Sri Lanka Armed Services Long Service Medal and clasp
• 50th Independence celebration medal
• North Humanitarian medal and clasp
• East Humanitarian medal and clasp
• North and East operational medal and two clasps
• Purna Bhumi Padakkama
• “Operation Riviresa” Campaign medal and clasp




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