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 SiteHawker Hurricane of No.30 RAF Squadron, Ratmalana

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

All information courtesy of This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">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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