To enhance maritime surveillance capabilities of Sri Lanka, the Government of India may provide one Dornier 228 Maritime Patrol Aircraft from the Indian Naval Fleet on a gratis basis for two years, a local media report said.
According to reports, the aircraft is being provided for an interim period of two years till a plane being manufactured in India for Sri Lanka is ready.
The aircraft comes as a sequel to the dialogue between India and Sri Lanka that took place on January 9, 2018 in New Delhi, when the Sri Lankan government sought the possibility of obtaining two Dornier Reconnaissance Aircraft from India.
The Indian Government has reportedly decided to provide a brand new Dornier 228 Maritime Patrol Aircraft free of charge, stated News Wire, adding that it will be inducted into Sri Lanka Air Force through mutually agreed terms and conditions between both countries.
The Indian Naval Dornier (INDO – 228) is basically a Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL), multirole light transport aircraft used by the Indian Navy for electronic warfare missions, maritime surveillance, disaster relief and other work with a turboprop twin-engine, produced since 1981.
The first ever Dornier is likely to be inducted to SLAF Fleet on 15th August 2022 in a ceremonial procession under the patronage by the Sri Lanka President, Ranil Wickremesinghe and High Commissioner of India, India’s High Commissioner in Colombo, Gopal Baglay with the authentication by Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, General Kamal Gunerathne (Retd) and under the supervision by Commander of the Air Force, Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana at SLAF Base Katunayake, reported News Wire.
The SLAF intends to effectively employ the Dornier aircraft specifically to conduct Maritime and Coastal Surveillance Operations within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), Search and Rescue Operations (SAR), Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC) and Maritime Pollution Monitoring and Control within Sri Lankan Search and Rescue Region (SRR) to attain SLAF ultimate vision of “Ensuring the National Security through Effective Employment of Airpower” within Sri Lankan Airspace, News Wire reported citing sources.
The aircraft will be flown and maintained only by 15 SLAF crew who were specifically trained in India for a period of four months.
The crew who received training consisted of pilots, observers, engineering officers and technicians along with the supervision by GOI technical team attached to SLAF comprising of engineering officers and technicians.
India continues to assist Sri Lanka in its economic development to overcome its economic challenges under its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy. In line with this policy, India continues to assist Sri Lanka in its economic development as also support it in overcoming its economic challenges. India is becoming a stronger and more mutually beneficial partner to Sri Lanka. Apart from assistance during the pandemic and fertilizer chaos, India is also donating basic products to the island nation.
Sri Lanka has been suffering a diesel shortage since February, which led to hours of daily power cuts. Presently, Sri Lanka is struggling with acute food and electricity shortages, forcing the country to seek help from its neighbours. (ANI)