Aug 11, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s cabinet has approved the purchase of new fighter aircraft following a proposal by President Maithripala Sirisena who is also the defense minister, reports said.
“The fighter aircrafts of the Sri Lanka Air Force have been aging and it is required to maintain them updated due to the importance of maintaining the oceanic security and being prepared for any unexpected threat,” the cabinet proposal said.
Expressions of interest will be sought from interested aircraft manufacturers, assistant manufacturers, and authorised government agents on the government to government basis purchasing, it added.
Media reports said eight fighter aircraft would be purchased, although the exact number or the cost was not disclosed in the cabinet paper.
A JF-17 fighter, jointly developed by China and Pakistan, would cost at least 20 million dollars, and Sri Lanka is reportedly considering this aircraft.
For operational readiness the Sri Lanka Air Force needs a full squadron of eight to 12 aircraft of multirole fighter aircraft with weapons, the Cabinet paper said.
Currently the Sri Lanka Air Force has a fleet of Kfir, MiG-27 and F-7 BS aircraft with the average age exceeding 30 years.