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Two Y-12-IV Chinese aircraft to replenish SL Air Force light aircraft fleet.

By: Staff Writer

Colombo (LNW): The Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) has been able to procure two state-of-the-art Harbin Y-12-IV aircraft from China for the replenishment of its ageing Y-12 light transport aircraft fleet since 2017, with orders placed with the manufacturer in late 2019.

The Air Force (SLAF) has received two state-of-the-art Harbin Y-12-IV aircraft from China, marking a significant advancement in the nation’s aviation capabilities recently.

The official induction ceremony, symbolizing the formal takeover of the aircraft, took place at the SLAF Ratmalana Base No. 8 “Light Transport” Squadron.

The Sri Lanka Air Force today received two Harbin Y-12-IV aircraft from China, marking a significant step in bolstering the nation’s aviation capabilities.

The Sri Lanka Air Force initiated preparations to purchase the aircraft in 2017 for the acquisition of two state-of-the-art Y-12IV aircraft.

A contract was signed on 16 December 2019 between the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence on behalf of the Sri Lankan Government and the China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation.

The Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) last week signed an acquisition agreement with Chinese aviation giant China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation for the purchase of two state-of-the-art Y-12 IV aircraft in June 2023.

The SLAF has been pursuing the replenishment of its ageing Y-12 light transport aircraft fleet since 2017, with orders placed with the manufacturer in late 2019.

With a number of Y-12s in the SLAF inventory reaching the end of their lifespan, many will become unserviceable in the coming years, a senior defence official disclosed.

It is learnt that Air Force Commander Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana signed the official acceptance documentation at a ceremony held in Beijingin June 2023.

When contacted, Air Force Spokesperson Group Captain Dushan Wijesinghe acknowledged that the SLAF had signed acceptance papers for two Y-12 IV aircraft, but would not provide details.

The Y-12 IV, the latest iteration of the Y-12 series of turboprop twin-engine, light transport aircraft, incorporates extended wing tips and an increased take-off weight, enhancing its performance capabilities, and includes modern avionics with a ‘glass cockpit’ instrument and information display console system.

The Y-12 aircraft has been in service with the SLAF since the 1980s and is manufactured by Harbin Aviation Industry Co. Ltd. in China.

The Y-12IV aircraft is a Short Take Off and Landing (STOL) aircraft that serves as a versatile light transport aircraft. This particular model, an improved version of the Y-12, incorporates extended wing tips and an increased take-off weight, enhancing its performance capabilities.

In addition to fulfilling operational, search and rescue needs, the Air Force Commander highlighted the unique capability of these aircraft to support tourism promotion. Each aircraft has a capacity for 15 passengers.

The Commander highlighted the unique ability of the Y-12IVs to land on 90% of Sri Lanka’s runways, making them ideal for promoting tourism in remote and picturesque locations.

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