Sri Lankan Air Force says that Air Vice Marshal Udeni Rajapaksa will take over as the 19th Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force with effect from Friday (30).

Born in Colombo in Western Province in 1969, Air Vice Marshal Udeni Rajapaksa is a past pupil of Bandaranayake College, Gampaha and Ananda College, Colombo. He joined the Kotelawala Defence Academy, Ratmalana as an Officer Cadet on 06 October 1988 in the 6th Officer Cadets’ Intake. Having undergone his Basic Combat Training and Graduate Studies  at Kotelawala Defence Academy, Basic Flying Training at No. 1 Flying Training Wing, Sri Lanka Air Force Base Anuradhapura and having performed with distinction, he became the Best Flight Cadet in the 33rd Flight Cadets’ course. Then he proceeded to No. 2 Squadron, Sri Lanka Air Force Base Ratmalana for advance flying training. He was commissioned as a Pilot Officer in the General Duties Pilots Branch on 05 October 1990 as a graduate of the Kotelawala Defence Academy, Ratmalana.

Furthermore, Air Vice Marshal Rajapaksa is a VVIP Captain Pilot and qualified in flying 10 types of aircraft; CESSNA–150, HARBIN Y-12, HS–748, SF–260TP, IA–58 PUCARA, B–200T, AN–32 and C–130. He has accumulated over 7000 flying hours to his credit in combat and transport flying and he holds the highest Instrument Rating; Master Green Rating and holds a civil ATPL (Air Transport Pilots License). He was elevated to his present rank on 01 April 2020.

Before being appointed as the Commanding Officer, No. 02 Squadron, SLAF Base Ratmalana in 2010; he did a tenure as Directing Staff (Air), Defence Services Command and Staff College, Batalanda from 2007 to 2009. Thereafter, he commanded SLAF Base Hingurakgoda from 2011 to 2012. Air Vice Marshal Rajapaksa attained a notable feat in his career when he was entrusted with the prestigious appointment of the Sri Lankan Defence Attaché to Sri Lanka Embassy in Russian Federation from 2012 to 2014. After completion of the tenure in Russia, he was appointed as Senior Air Staff Officer (SASO) from 21 April 2014 before being appointed as the Base Commander of Sri Lanka Air Force Base Vavuniya from 01 September 2015. Further, He was assigned as Air Secretary from 12 September 2016 to 23 August 2017 and from 07 August 2018 to 30 June 2019. (SL Air Force)