(VIDEO) 30 years of glory for SLAF’s No. 05 Fighter Jet Squadron

(VIDEO) 30 years of glory for SLAF’s No. 05 Fighter Jet Squadron

Written by Zulfick Farzan

01 Feb, 2021 | 6:10 pm

Colombo (News 1st);  No. 05 Fighter Jet Squadron of the Sri Lanka Air Force celebrated its 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 the acquisition of an 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 the 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 (Present Air Force Commander), Fleet Lt. I.J.I. Wijetilleke and Fleet Lt. S. Hendawitharane were the first pilots in SLAF history to break the speed of sound and consider as pioneers in the supersonic fighter age.

The squadron’s initial operations commenced from the SLAF Base Katunayake but were 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 specialized low-level strike capability six Russian MiG-27 and one MiG 23UB trainer were inducted into 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 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.

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

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