For the first time in history, the Sri Lanka Air Force Regiment Special Forces (RSF) conducted a Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) training exercise during Cormorant Strike Exercise XI on 22 September 2021 at Narakamulla in the general area of Thoppigala.
The Cormorant Strike Exercise is Sri Lanka’s largest Special Forces Training Exercise conducted jointly by the Sri Lanka Army, Navy and Air Force, which is also participated by many friendly foreign nations annually.
The exercise was conducted to rehearse the deployment of Combat Search and Rescue capabilities of the RSF in coordination with the Disaster Assistance and Response Team (DART) of the SLAF, in order to recover a helicopter in distress, simulated in a near real time hostile ground environment. 01 MI-17 Helicopter from No.06 Helicopter Squadron, 02 Bell 212 helicopters from No. 07 Helicopter Squadron participated for troop mobilization while a B 200 aircraft from No 03 Maritime Squadron acted as the airborne Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance platform. An eight (08) man RSF team and an eight (08) man DART team took part in the rescue mission and jointly linked up with the Sri Lanka Army Air Mobile Unit as well.
Base Commander SLAF Hingurakgoda, Group Captain Prasanna Kuruwita officiated as the Joint Force Air Component Commander of the Cormorant Strike Exercise 2021. Commanding Officers of No.03, No.06 and No.07 Squadrons commanded the respective airborne platforms. Flight Lieutenant Shakkya Bandara was the mission commander of the CSAR operation.