October 7, 2022

The Republic of Sri Lanka was previously known as Ceylon. It was a major wartime station for the British during World War 2, acting as a major staging post for convoys going to and from the Cape. The Coast of Sri Lanka was witness to some bitter airbattles during the summer of 1942, when a Japanese Task force raided with a task force consiting of carriers and cruisers.

Hawker Hurricanes of No.30 Squadron, RAF battled it out with Mitsubishi Zeros over the skies of the capital Colombo, the British losing almost twenty Hurricanes and the Aircraft carrier HMS Hermes in the bargain. The aircraft carrier Hermes sank with atleast two Swordfish biplanes in its hangar. The wreck of the Hermes can still be seen from the air on a clear day with calm seas.

Hawker Hurricane IIc of No.30 Squadron as flown during the raids on Ceylon. Pic Courtesy RAF Site

When Ceylon gained independence in 1948, the Royal Ceylonese Air Force [RCyAF] was started out in 1951 with a small fleet of DHC-1 Chipmunk trainers. A plan to acquire De Havilland Vampires came to naught with Boulton Paul Balliols being taken in thier place. In the course of its growth and the subsequent outbreak of ethnic hostilities with the Tamil Rebel groups, the airforce saw the induction of Cessna T-37s, Siai Marchettis, Argentinian FMA Pucara COIN Aircraft and in the late 90s a good number of IAI Kfirs, MiG-27s, MiG-23UMs, Mi-24s, An-26 Transports etc.

The wartime airfield of Ratmalana where the Hurricanes took off from now houses the Sri Lankan Air Force The SLAF maintains a Museum at thier airbase in Ratmalana, where a good number of aircraft that survived have been preserved here.

Click to Enlarge The SLAF operated a few Argentinian FMA Pucara COIN aircraft for its operations in the North East. CA-605 is one of the two Pucaras that are now preserved in the Sri Lankan Museum. Pic Courtesy Alan Warnes/FLYPAST Magazine

The SLAF maintains a couple of these aircraft in airworthy condition. Atleast one Chipmunk, and a Dakota are kept in flying trim. Bob Ogden, who brings out the Directory of Aviation Museums has kindly provided us with the following list of Aircraft that can be found in Sri Lanka.

Aircraft Type Mark Serial Location    
Beech E18   CS-450 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
Bell 47G   CH-580 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
Bell 47G   CH-577 Katunayake-Negumbo Collection   Katunayaka
Boulton Paul Balliol T.2 CA-302 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
Boulton Paul Balliol T.2 CA-310 SLAF Recruiting Center , Diyatalawa   Diyatalawa
Cessna 337 Skymaster   CC-651 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
Cessna 337 Skymaster   CC-656 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
DH DH114 Heron   CR-801 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
DH DH114 Heron   CR-804 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
DH DH82 A Tigermoth   CX-123 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
DH DHC-1 Chipmunk   CT-102 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana – Airworthy SLAFM Ratmalana
DH DHC-1 Chipmunk   CT-103 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
DH DHC-1 Chipmunk   CT-107 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
DH DHC-1 Chipmunk   CT-110 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
DH DHC-1 Chipmunk   CT-111 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
DH Dove   CS-401 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
DH Dove   CS-405 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
DH Dove   CS-406 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
Douglas C-47 Dakota   CR-821 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
Douglas C-47 Dakota   CR-822 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
FMA Pucara   CA-605 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
Hawker Siddely HS-748   CR-831 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
Kamov Ka26   CH-525 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
Mig 15 UTI CF-901 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
MiG 17   CF-904 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
MiG 17   CF-906 Katunayake-Negumbo Collection   Katunayaka
Pazmamy PL2   CX-122 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
Percival Jet Provost T.51 CJ-704 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
Percival Jet Provost T.51 CJ-707 Katunayake-Negumbo Collection   Katunayaka
Percival Jet Provost T.51 CJ-710 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
Percival Jet Provost T.51 CJ-711 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
SA Pioneer   CC-602 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
Siai Marchetti 260   CT-124 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
Siai Marchetti 260   CT-163 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
Siai Marchetti 260   CT-165 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
Sud SA365C Dauphin   CH-531 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
Sud SA365C Dauphin   CH-533 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
Sud SA365C Dauphin   CH-533 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana
Westland Dragonfly   CH-501 SLAF Museum, Ratmalana SLAFM Ratmalana

All information courtesy of Bob Ogden , Ogden Publishers, UK

Links on Aviation in Sri Lanka:
The Sri Lankan Air Force Museum at Ratmalana http://www.sundaytimes.lk/020609/plus.html#1
50 years Celebration of the Sri Lankan Air Force http://xi.pair.com/isweb3/spot/sp0536/clip3.html
Suryakirans and Akash Ganga arrive for 50th Anniv http://origin.island.lk/2001/03/07/news07.html
Japan’s Easter Sunday raid on Ceylon http://origin.thesundayleader.lk/20020407/review.htm
Tribute to AVM Rohan Amarasekara DFC Bar http://origin.island.lk/2002/03/17/opinio02.html
A dedication to AVM E R Amarasekara http://www.octa4.net.au/tcosgrove/rohan.html
Pt Off Ananda Kularatne, Bomber Command http://www.octa4.net.au/tcosgrove/ananda.html
A Article about Pt Off Dubal Abayasekara DFC http://origin.island.lk/2001/02/25/featur03.html
Mervyn Rex De Silva of 17 RAF Sqn http://www.lacnet.org/suntimes/970223/plus3.html
Emergence of civil aviation in Ceylon http://www.lacnet.org/suntimes/000102/sup4.html
Sri Lankan Air Force OrBat at Scramble http://www.scramble.nl/mil/2/sriaf/orbat.htm
The day Ceylon escaped Japanese occupation http://www.island.lk/2002/03/31/featur08.html
The SLAF – Sri Lankan Air Fiasco http://www.lacnet.org/suntimes/970427/sitrep.html

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