80 p.c. of Air Defence System completed
SLAF ready for any threat, says Commander:
COLOMBO: The Sri Lanka Air Force is ready to face any air threat from
the LTTE with more than 80 per cent of the Air Defence System completed
with India’s support, Air Force Commander Air Vice Marshal Roshan
Goonetilleke told the Daily News.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily News, Commander Goonetilleke
said only a little more has to be done to establish a comprehensive air
“Actually we have finished 80 per cent of the work. We have very
little more to do. And that 80 per cent can definitely take charge of
the kind of threat we saw in three [LTTE air] attacks,” the Commander
He said with the LTTE air attacks the SLAF managed to accelerate the
programme of establishing a fully capable air defence system with the
help of India.
“India volunteered to extend support. They have been good enough to
give equipment to us free and their people to train our people, wait and
operate these equipment until we are quite comfortable to operate on our
own,” the Air Force Commander said.
He said that apart from the establishment of the air defence system,
the Air Force also took measures to destroy air capabilities of the LTTE
by bombing those places.
“We have not just waited. We have also bombed their places and done a
lot of damage to where we think they have their facilities,” he said.
He said although intelligence reports say the LTTE had flown again,
the Air Force has not seen or collected any concrete proof to that
“Of course we are constantly alert,” the Commander added.
He said the requirement to purchase MiG 29 fighter aircraft was
forwarded prior to the LTTE coming out with the air threat and the SLAF
will definitely go for MiG 29s once the Ministry of Defence approves it.