Sri Lanka to buy four more MiG-27 fighter jets

By Walter Jayawardhana

Sri Lanka will buy four more MiG-27 fighter jets from Ukraine to strengthen its air force announced Defense spokesman Keheliye Rambukwella.

The used swing-wing air craft will be used to attack the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) who have escalated violence in the country and freshly vowed to dismember the nations Northern and Eastern Province.

The minister did not reveal what price the country was paying Ukraine for the second hand aircraft but according to published reports in the newspapers the deal is worth about 9.8 million dollars.

Rambukwella said the aircraft will be delivered to Sri Lanka very shortly.

The minister said according to the deal reached with Ukraine, they would also overhaul the four MiG-27 fighter jets the Air Force is already having. He pointed out that a friendly country of Sri Lanka wanted more money to refurbish the existing four Mig-27 planes than the money the island nation is already paying for the whole deal to Ukraine.

Under license from Russia MiG-27 fighter jets are now manufactured in neighboring India.

The 56 feet long jet air craft could carry laser guided bombs and air to surface missile that could hit easily fast moving vehicles or sea craft and hard surfaces.

But Colombo’s pro-opposition Sunday Times newspaper a week ago criticized the deal and said the Sri Lankan Air Force was paying more money for the aircraft that what it paid many years ago from the same country. It said Sri Lanka was buying the four planes from the same old lot of planes from which it bought in the year 2000 and there was no reason why it should pay more money.

Sri Lanka bought its first MiG-27 ground attack planes in 2000. This was shortly after the Tamil Tigers overran the key Elephant Pass garrison that controls land access to the northern Jaffna peninsula in April 2000.

An Ukranian pilot was killed when a MiG-27 crashed near the international airport only few months later in August of the same year.

When the LTTE terrorists attacked the Air Force base adjacent to the Katunayaka International Airport a second MiG-27 was lost while it was being parked there in July 2001. Another MiG-27 crashed into a lagoon near the airport in June 2004.

Today, the Sri Lanka Air force is run with a handful of K-fir Israeli jets and F-7 Chinese made ground attack aircraft.

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Posted on December 10, 2006, in Sri Lanka and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Sri Lanka to buy four more MiG-27 fighter jets.

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