SLAF’s No. 3 Maritime Squadron celebrates 4th Anniversary | Daily News

SLAF’s No. 3 Maritime Squadron celebrates 4th Anniversary

The No. 3 Squadron was inaugurated in 1965 at the Air Force Base China Bay and , it was refurbished as a fully-fledged operational flying formation and renamed as No.3 Maritime Squadron in December 1971, commanded by the Commanding Officer, Squadron Leader Noor Rahim under the guidance of then Commander of the Air Force, Air Vice Marshal PH Mendis. The Squadron logo featured the “Red-wattled Lapwing (Kirala),” to indicate the role of the Squadron of providing early warning.

Initially, the squadron inventory was with the De Havilland Dove aircraft and entrusted with dawn to dusk reconnaissance patrols of the Eastern Coast from Point Pedro to Galle as a deterrent to possible arms smuggling, a need felt during the 1971 insurgency. The Squadron shifted to the SLAF Base Katunayake with the addition of the Cessna 337 aircraft and again relocated at the SLAF Base China Bay in 1988 to conduct surveillance operations against the LTTE.

Air Force Commander Air Marshal Sudharshana Pathirana was a pioneer aviator in the No. 3 Maritime Squadron logging numerous flying hours, conducting surveillance, MEDIVAC and other operational missions over this period. The squadron became non-operational in 1993 due to depletion of its fleet. However, the need of a dedicated maritime surveillance squadron remained unquenched over nearly 25 years.

The squadron was re-established at the SLAF Academy China Bay on January 11, 2019, fulfilling the need of an operational flying formation entrusted with maritime/land surveillance and HADR operations and equipped with Y-12 and B-200 aircraft. WgCdr Vidura Premasinghe (Rtd) was the first Commanding Officer after the re-establishment and since then the squadron is on 24×7 operational readiness to conduct surveillance, HADR and other flying commitments and has expanded its operations with the induction of the newest addition of SLAF, the Dornier 228 aircraft from the Indian Navy. At present, three sorties per week, this squadron is covering about 50,000 Km2 around the island.

The Squadron is now equipped with a Beech King Air B-200 aircraft and Do-228. The No. 3 Maritime Squadron is undertaking maritime, ground surveillance and reconnaissance missions to safeguard the sovereignty of Sri Lanka.

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