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Air Force combat capability intact - SLAF Chief

Monday’s LTTE attack on the Anuradhapura Air Force Base has in no way reduced the attack capability of the Sri Lanka Air Force, Air Force Commander Air Vice Marshal Roshan Gunatilleke said yesterday.

Addressing journalists at the Media Centre for National Security, he said the Government hoped to replace the seven aircraft destroyed in the pre-dawn attack with new ones within a short period. “The purchase of new air craft will cost US $ 15 million.”

According to Gunatilleke, the terrorists who launched a ground attack on the Base while dropping bombs using two light aircraft, failed to cause any damage to the Air Force camp.

“Our troops were able to repulse the attacks on the camp successfully. We must be grateful to them for putting their lives in peril to safeguard the camp”.

The Air Force Chief further said they were on the look out for the areas used by the LTTE to station the light aircraft possessed by them.

“The fact that the LTTE could not carry out air attacks during the last few months is proof that our recent attacks on their targets have been successful,” he added.

The air defence system which would enable the Sri Lanka Air Force to face any terrorist air attack will be completed within one year, Air Force Commander Air Vice Marshal Gunatilleke said.

Responding to a media query at the weekly defence briefing yesterday, Gunatilleke said the Government has provided the funds required to expedite the setting up of the system with Indian help.

“Ordinarily, the establishment of an air defence system takes five to six years. However, we are carrying out the work on the system at a rapid pace to ensure that it is completed within a short period,” he said.

He said around 70 per cent of the system is already in place covering vital areas in the country though certain other areas could still be vulnerable to aerial attacks.

 

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