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No 05 Jet Squadron celebrates 31st anniversary

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Over 600 sorties during Eelam War IV

The No 05 Fighter Squadron known as the “Black Drongos” celebrated its 31st Anniversary yesterday (01)

Sri Lanka acquired four F 7 BS fighters, one FT 7 B trainer and two FT 5 trainers from China in early 1991. The aircraft arrived in Sri Lanka on Feb 1, 1991 and this gave birth to the No 5 Fighter Squadron. Squadron Leader H.D. Abeywickrema was appointed as its first Commanding Officer. The present Commander of the Air Force, Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana was also a founder member of the No 5 Fighter Squadron.

The SLAF statement is as follows: “Then Squadron Leader P. Gunasinghe, Flight Lieutenant S.K. Pathirana, Flight Lieutenant I.J.I. Wijetilleke and Flight Lieutenant S. Hendawitharane were initial pilots in SLAF history to break the speed of sound and be considered as the pioneers of the supersonic fighter age.

The squadron’s initial operations commenced from SLAF Base Katunayake, but was soon shifted to China Bay in 1994 as a measure of reducing the response time and to act promptly for operational requirements. However, due to security concerns it was later re-shifted to its home Base at Katunayake in 1996. As a measure of enhancing the No 5 Fighter Squadron’s Air Interdiction and specialised low level strike capability six Russian MiG-27 and one MiG 23UB trainer were inducted to the squadron in 2000.

2007 was a remarkable year to the SLAF and to No 5 Fighter Squadron in terms of fleet enhancements.

The modern F-7 GS which is the advanced version of F-7 BS in relation to avionics including an AI Radar, sophisticated weapons delivery system with Air to Air missile strike capability and user-friendly glass cockpit was inducted. Much needed and well maintained SLAF air superiority over the nation was threatened with the emergence of the LTTE Air Wing followed by the first air space intrusion on 26 March 2007. The newly introduced F-7 ‘Air Guard’ fighters were called upon with expectations to live up to its literal reputation, being the first supersonic interceptor with air to air strike capability.

In the course of the Squadron’s remarkable trail it has been commanded by 10 Commanding Officers.

Shouldering its responsibility as the cradle of fighter pilots the squadron has produced more than 26 pilots who were the frontline fighters to face the brutal enemy counter attacks, delivering tons of explosives to weaken the enemy’s moral to fight back in the prolonged Eelam Wars.

No 05 Squadron has contributed its effort promptly and effectively whenever it was called upon with distinction and honour performing a multitude of Counter Air and Counter Surface Force Operations conducting an excess of 600 flying sorties during the humanitarian operations. The results of these efforts were clearly manifested in the nation’s ultimate victory over terrorism. The No 05 fighter Squadron continues to render its service to the nation as the leading air defence platform guarding the skies of our motherland and will continue to prosper in future with the latest updates and highly trained crew.

The No 5 Fighter Squadron was awarded President’s colours in 2021 considering the significant service rendered to the nation over the years.”



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BASL urges President to de-escalate tensions in different parts of country

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The Bar Association of Sri Lanka has called upon President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to instruct the Defence Secretary, the Commanders of the Tri Forces and the Inspector General of Police to ensure that there is an immediate de-escalation of tensions in different parts of the country – especially at fuel stations – understanding the difficulties faced by the public.”

 “Whilst keeping in mind that the police and armed forces are acting under very trying circumstances, nevertheless it is necessary to give strict instructions to the police and the forces to desist from violence in dealing with the public and to act with utmost restraint”, the BASL has said in a media statement.

 “We also call upon you to ensure that steps are taken under the law to deal with errant officers who have subjected civilians to such violence.”

The BASL is of the view that it is not appropriate for service personnel to be deployed in the present manner in matters which essentially should be managed by the Sri Lanka Police.

 The armed forces should also not be used to disturb or hinder peaceful protests as was seen last week in Galle.

Full text of the BASL letter to the President:

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) expresses its gravest concerns at the current situation at fuel stations throughout the country and the reports of several incidents of conflicts between civilians and members of the police force and the armed forces at fuel stations. There has been video footage of civilians being assaulted by personnel of the armed forces and the police, the latest being of a civilian being kicked by an Army officer at a fuel station. There have also been situations of the police and Army opening fire into the air to contain the crowd.

Your Excellency is no doubt aware that thousands of desperate civilians are waiting in queues at hundreds of fuel stations in the country. The queues are kilometres long. The tension at the fuel stations have arisen from this desperation for which there is no immediate solution in sight.

The BASL wishes to warn Your Excellency of the imminent dangers this situation could give rise to. The present unrest could result in a conflagration between civilians and members of the armed forces or the police. Some years ago, confrontations between members of the public and the armed forces resulted in the deaths of civilians. Such incidents between the members of the armed forces or the police and the civilians will discredit Sri Lanka’s armed forces and the police.

We call upon Your Excellency to take all necessary steps to give instructions to the Defence Secretary, the Commanders of the Tri Forces and the Inspector General of Police to ensure that there is an immediate de-escalation of the situation in different parts of the country – especially at fuel stations – understanding the difficulties faced by public. Whilst keeping in mind that the police and armed forces are acting under very trying circumstances, nevertheless it is necessary to give strict instructions to the police and the forces to desist from violence in dealing with the public and to act with utmost restraint. We also call upon you to ensure that steps be taken under the law to deal with errant officers who have subjected civilians to such violence.

The Sri Lanka Army and other service personnel must be deployed only in very limited circumstances as contemplated in the Criminal Procedure Code. The BASL is of the view that it is not appropriate for service personnel to be deployed in the present manner in matters which essentially should be managed by the Sri Lanka Police. The Armed Forces should also not be used to disturb or hinder peaceful protests as was seen last week in Galle.

We trust that this will receive the immediate attention of the Government as to do otherwise may otherwise result in unprecedented turmoil and harm.

The BASL believes that the ultimate solution to the situation at fuel stations is to be transparent with the public and to ensure an equitable and effective system of fuel distribution throughout the country.

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SC orders AG to submit report on fuel purchases and distribution

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By A.J.A. Abeynayake

A three-member Supreme Court bench consisting of Justices Vijith Malalgoda, Mahinda Samayawardena and Arjuna Obeysekera yesterday ordered the Attorney General to submit a report on fuel purchases, the distribution thereof and the sectors to be provided with fuel on a priority basis.

The Supreme Court made the order after considering two fundamental rights petitions presented by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka.

The BASL has requested the Supreme Court to direct the Cabinet of Ministers to consult all stakeholders and independent experts to formulate and implement the necessary policies, and to provide concessions in relation to the prices of essential goods and services to the people including LP gas, fuel, electricity, milk powder, medicines and food.

The petitions were filed by the President of the BASL Saliya Pieris PC, Deputy President Anura Meddegoda PC, former Secretary Rajeev Amarasuriya, Treasurer Rajindh Perera and the Assistant Secretary Pasindu Silva.

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A/L may be delayed by one month

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Education Minister Sushil Premajayantha told Parliament yesterday that although it had been scheduled to hold the G.C.E. A/L Examination 2022 in November this year, it could be further delayed by another month.

Responding to a question by MP Shantha Bandara, the Minister said: “The examination should be held at least after three months of releasing the results of the previous A/L exam because the students who need to sit it again should have enough time to prepare,” the Minister said.

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