Russian-made military equipment deployed by Sri Lanka’s navy, air force, and army has demonstrated impressive capabilities and, thus, Colombo is not planning to review any options to change it anytime soon, Group Captain Uditha Piyasena, the defense attache of the Sri Lankan Embassy in Russia, told Sputnik.
“We have [Russian] military equipment in our navy, air force and the army. And they have always proven to be very useful and we don’t plan on changing anytime soon now, either,” Piyasena said on the sidelines of the International Helicopter Industry Exhibition HeliRussia.
He noted that the Russian equipment has been proven to be very robust and very suitable for use in very difficult situations and in severe environmental conditions.
“They are suitable for rough environments. That is something that is proven,” he noted.
Piyasena also praised Russia for supporting Sri Lanka in the military sphere as well as with advice.
“That is very much welcome because as an independent neutral country we always do not like to take sides. But we are a small country, we need to survive.
Support from technically advanced counties is always required for smaller countries like us to live independently. And the support from Russia in terms of a lot of things – politically, internationally, everything – has always been very much welcomed. So military cooperation is no different,” he stressed.
The defense attache noted that Russia and Sri Lanka have a long history of relations which started even in the times of the Soviet Union. He recalled that the Soviet Union backed Sri Lanka in joining the United Nations in the 1950s.
Sri Lankan air force is actively using Mikoyan MiG-27 variable-sweep ground-attack aircraft which entered into service in 2000, as well as Mil Mi-17 military helicopters, T-54/T-55 main battle tanks and BTR-80 wheeled amphibious armored personnel carriers.