Harsha Abeywickrama

Harsha Abeywickrema
Allegiance Sri Lanka Sri Lanka
Service/branch Sri Lanka Air Force
Years of service 1980 - 2014
Rank Air Chief Marshal
Unit No. 5 "Jet" Squadron
Commands held Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force,
Deputy Chief of Staff,
Director Air Operations
Battles/wars Sri Lankan Civil War
Awards Rana Wickrama Padakkama,
Rana Sura Padakkama,
Vishista Seva Vibhushanaya,
Uttama Seva Padakkama
Other work Chairman of the Bank of Ceylon

Air Chief Marshal Harsha Abeywickrema, RWP, RSP, VSV, USP, rcds, psc, qfi, SLAF is a Sri Lankan fighter pilot, who served as the Commander of the Sri Lankan Air Force from 2011 to 2014 and is the former Chairman of the Bank of Ceylon.[1]


Educated at Royal College Colombo, he gained a MA in International Studies from King's College London, and a MSc in Management from the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University.

Abeywickrema is a graduate of the Royal College of Defence Studies and the Air Command and Staff College, Air University. He has undergone a number of training courses and is a qualified flying instructor.


Abeywickrema joined the Sri Lanka Air Force as an Officer Cadet in the General Duties Pilot Branch in 1980. After successful completion of Flying Training he was commissioned as a Pilot Officer in 1982.

During his career he has commanded the No. 1 Flying Training Wing and was the first commanding officer of the No. 5 "Jet" Squadron when it was reestablished in 1991 under his command following the acquisition of F-7 and F-5 fighters from China, it was the country's first fighter squadron. He was one of the first pilots to qualify in F-7s in 1991 and IAI Kfirs in 1996. Thereafter he served as Commanding Officer of SLAF Palaly, Base Commander of SLAF China Bay, SLAF Anuradhapura & SLAF Rathmalana following which he became the Zonal Commander East and Chief Instructor of Air Wing of the Defence Services Command and Staff College.

In his stint as the Director Air Operations at SLAF Colombo, Air Force Headquarters he spearheaded air operations that brought about the successful conclusion of the Sri Lankan Civil War in 2009.[1][2] He was also the Director Logistics. Thereafter he served as Deputy Chief of Staff of the Air Force until he was promoted as Commander of the Air Force. In 2014 he retired from the Air Force and was promoted to the rank of Air Chief Marshal.

Air Chief Marshal Abeywickrema has been awarded the gallantry medals Rana Wickrama Padakkama and Rana Sura Padakkama for individual acts of bravery, the service medals Vishista Seva Vibhushanaya (VSV), Uttama Seva Padakkama and Sri Lanka Armed Services Long Service Medal.

Later work

After his retirement from the Air Force, Abeywickrema was appointed as the Chairman of the largest state bank, Bank of Ceylon.[3]


Abeywickrema is married to Neelika a lawyer and they have one son, Kasun. He is an active golfer.


External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Roshan Goonatilake
Commander of the Sri Lankan Air Force
Succeeded by
Kolitha Gunathilake
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