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Air Force The fight to the end


Air Force shattered LTTE targets:

The defeat of the LTTE terrorists in less than three years was made possible by the strong political leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa that paved the way for the three Armed Forces to coordinate action in the battle fronts.
In this regard the officers, especially the pilots who worked with dedication helped destroy terrorist targets with precision so that the LTTE lost the coordination of men and material to face our Armed Forces, Air Chief Marshall Roshan Gunatilake said in an interview. He said the Air Force attacked individual terrorist targets clearly identified by the unmanned reconnaissance aircraft and whenever the Sri Lanka Army or the Navy requested attacks on terrorist targets the pilots of the force immediately took to the air to destroy the terrorist targets.

The Air Chief Marshall said the purchase of aircraft and equipment needed by the Air Force also helped the men in the force to carry out attacks against terrorist targets though there was criticism from certain elements about the purchases of aircraft.

These would not hold water. For instance the MIGs purchased were ridiculed by some of the critics as being over seven years old but even India was still using older MIGs while six to seven other countries were also using these aircraft.

There were two kinds of people one that loved their country and the other that did not but the officers and men in the SLAF were chosen by him according to their capabilities and competence so that in each division they performed very well.

Most civilians or outsiders did not know till very recently the SLAF had only 5 jet fighter pilots and these men sometimes as much as 15 or 16 sorties a days and their dedication to duty helped to win the war against terrorists.
The leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa who courageously led not only the three Armed Forces but also prepared and led the people to cooperate with the war effort helped the three Armed Forces in all their efforts.

More than all other factors leadership was the key to this victory achieved through cooperation of all Three Forces, the police and Civil Defence Force as well the people of Sri Lanka highly intelligent and literate population who had the empathy to all the officers and men of the three armed forces that was also one of the factors behind the victory.

For instance our men modified and repaired aircraft and equipment with a sense of duty due to the proper leadership they got during the past three years he noted.

Asked to comment on certain allegations against the SLAF that it hit civilian targets in the north and east Air Chief Marshall Gunatilake said such allegations were made by certain elements with ulterior motives but the pilots and men of the SLAF clearly identified their targets before they attacked them.

~ By Wijitha NAKKAWITA ~