SLAF No. 5 Jet Squadron marks 30th Anniversary | Daily News

SLAF No. 5 Jet Squadron marks 30th Anniversary

The Sri Lanka Air Force No. 5 Jet Squadron celebrates 30th Anniversary today. The Squadron was formed on February 1, 1991 with the induction of two new FT-5 jet trainers in Katunayake under the command of Squadron Leader H.D. Abeywickrema. In the same year, the fleet was enhanced by acquisition of a FT-7 trainer and four F-7 Airguard day fighters. These were the first jet aircraft added to the SLAF’s inventory since the retirement of Mig-17s and Jet provost T-Mk-51s, which were used from 1970s. F-7BS was mainly designated for Battlefield Air Support for ground operations, Air Interception, Air Interdiction and Armed Reconnaissance roles. Squadron Leader P Gunasinghe, Fleet Lt. S.K. Pathirana, Fleet Lt. I.J.I. Wijetilleke and Fleet Lt. S. Hendawitharane were first pilots in SLAF history to break the speed of sound and consider as the pioneers in the supersonic fighter age. The squadron’s initial operations commenced from the SLAF Base Katunayake but was soon moved to the SLAF China Bay in 1994 to reduce the response time to act promptly for operational requirements. However, it was later re-shifted to Katunayake in 1996.

As an extent of enhancing the No 5 Fighter Squadron’s Air Interdiction and specialised low level strike capability six Russian MiG-27 and one MiG 23UB trainer were inducted to the squadron in 2000. In 2007, the modern F-7 GS, which is the advanced version of F-7 BS in avionics including an AI Radar, sophisticated weapons delivery system with Air to Air missile strike capability and user-friendly glass cockpit, was inducted.

The squadron's remarkable trail has been commanded by 10 Commanding Officers.

The squadron has produced over 25 front line fighters to face the brutal enemy counter attacks, delivering tonnes of explosives to weaken the enemies’ moral to fight back in the prolonged Eelam war.

The No. 5 Squadron has contributed its effort promptly and has conducted over 600 flying sorties during the humanitarian operation.