In order to strengthen the longstanding partnership between the Sri Lanka Air Force and the University of Moratuwa, the Commander of the Air Force, Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana, officially handed over a Mig-27 fighter aircraft (removed from active service) on 20 December 2021, to the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Moratuwa (UOM), Senior Professor Niranjan Gunawardana, to promote the Aeronautical Engineering Degree program. In addition, a formal Memorandum of Understanding was also signed between the Commander (on behalf of the Air Force) and Vice-Chancellor (on behalf of the University of Moratuwa) to further solidify the long standing partnership.
On behalf of the Air Force, the official ceremony was also attended by the Director Aeronautical Engineering, Air Vice Marshal Dushyantha Ratnayake, Deputy Director Aeronautical, Engineering Air Commodore Ranjith Senanayake, Deputy Director General Engineering, Air Commodore Nihal Jayasinghe as well as the Base Commander SLAF Base Ratmalana, Group Captain Asela Jayasekara. On behalf of the University of Moratuwa, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Senior Professor Mahanama, Dean, Faculty of Engineering, Senior Professor Nalin Wickramarachchi, Head of Department of Mechanical Engineering, Dr Himan Punchihewa, as well as other academic and non-academic staff including Prof. Ruwan Gopura, Prof. Nirosh Jayaweera and Dr Saliya Jayasekara and students from the Aeronautical Engineering degree program attended the event.
During the ceremony, the tremendous assistance rendered by the Sri Lanka Air Force over the years towards the establishment of the Aeronautical Engineering Degree program at the University was greatly appreciated. The Commander also highlighted that it was an honor to be able to donate a fighter aircraft that provided yeoman service to the nation, to the University to continue to serve the nation by being an invaluable educational aid for aspiring aeronautical engineers of the country. Addressing the event, Vice-Chancellor (UOM) extended his gratitude to the Commander of the Air Force being the highest rank military officer to visit the University for such important donation to uplift the aeronautical engineering knowledge of young aviation engineers.
Both parties agreed that they look forward towards continuing this partnership between the most sort after premier Engineering University in the country and Sri Lanka’s Guardians of the Skies, the SLAF, for decades to come, especially in the spheres of research and development such as the development of the “Lihiniya” Indigenous UAV System.