Sri Lanka Artillery

Sri Lanka Artillery
Active 12 April 1888 - Present
Country Sri Lanka
Branch Sri Lanka Army
Type Artillery
Role Artillery,
Target Acquisition,
Size 12 regular regiments,
2 volunteer regiments
Part of Artillery Brigade
Regimental Headquarters Panagoda Cantonment, Panagoda.
Nickname(s) SLA
March The British Grenadiers
Anniversaries 12 April
Engagements World War I
World War II
1971 Insurrection
Insurrection 1987-89
Sri Lankan Civil War
Centre Commandant Col A S Hewawitharana IG
Colonel-Commandant Maj Gen J.C.Rambukpotha RSP USP ndc IG
Colonel F. C. de Saram OBE

The Sri Lanka Artillery (SLA) is the artillery arm of the Sri Lanka Army. It is made up of 12 regular regiments and 2 volunteer (reserve) regiments. The SLA is headquartered at Panagoda Cantonment, Panagoda.


Artillery Complex,6th Artillery Regiment, Minneriya, Sri Lanka

The roots of the Sri Lanka Artillery goes back to 1888, when on 12 April 1888 the Ceylon Artillery Volunteers was formed as a gun battery under the command of Capt. C.E.H Symons of the Royal Artillery. During World War I the Ceylon Artillery Volunteers were mobilised, along with the Town Guard Artillery of Colombo, for the defence of Colombo. In 1918 the Ceylon Garrison Artillery was formed by amalgamating the Ceylon Artillery Volunteers and the Town Guard Artillery, coming under the Ceylon Defence Force. During the colonial period the main responsibility of the Ceylon Garrison Artillery was the coastal defence of Ceylon, by manning Coastal artillery batteries.

During World War II, as well as defending Ceylon the CGA was deployed overseas to support the Allied and Commonwealth forces in the Indian Ocean. Equipped with 6 inch Guns, the CGA was deployed in defence of the Seychelles and the Cocos Islands. Within Ceylon the CGA expanded in size, with the 1st Coast Regiment raising one field and four coast batteries and the formation of the 2nd Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, headquartered in Trincomalee, and the 3rd Searchlight/Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment based in Colombo. These formations defended Colombo and Trincomalee during the air attacks occurred as part of the Indian Ocean raid by the Imperial Japanese Navy.[1]

In 1949 the CGA became the Ceylon Artillery as part of the Ceylon Army formed under the Army Act of 1949. That year the 1st Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment (HAA) of the Ceylon Artillery was formed under the command of Lt. Col. (later Colonel) F. C. de Saram, OBE. In 1953 it was renamed the 1st Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment (LAA). In the same year the 3rd Field Artillery Regiment was formed. The 2nd Volunteer Coastal Artillery / Anti-Aircraft Regiment was formed in 1949, under the command of Lt. Col. J.A.T. Perera, ED. It was made up of officers and men of the Ceylon Garrison Artillery. In 1962, when many officers of the CA, including Colonel De Saram, were associated with the attempted military coup, the government began the rapid reduction of the CA. As a result, in 1962 2nd Volunteer Regiment was disbanded and the coastal artillery batteries were decommissioned. The following year in 1963 the 1st Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment was amalgamated with 3rd Field Artillery Regiment and the 4th Regiment, Ceylon Artillery was formed, thus reducing the Ceylon Artillery to a single regiment. Years after amalgamation of the LAA, the air defence role of the Sri Lankan military was taken over by the Sri Lanka Air Force Regiment, which it carries out to this day. The CA was renamed in 1972 as the Sri Lanka Artillery when Ceylon became a republic. In 1980 was a new volunteer regiment, the 5th (V) Artillery Regiment was formed.

At present the Sri Lanka Artillery has 12 regular regiments, 2 volunteer regiments and a regimental band. These units form the Artillery Brigade. Since the start of the Sri Lankan civil war in the 1980s, the SLA has provided fire support for almost all military operations carried out by the Sri Lanka Army against terrorist forces. It also performs a target acquisition role to locate enemy guns. At times the SLA has deployed 4 regular (RFT)and 2 volunteer regiments in an infantry role to meet the shortage of infantry.


Regular Regiments

RM-70 Multi Barrel Rocket Launcher - Sri Lanka Artillery

Volunteer Regiments


A RM-70 multiple rocket launcher of the Sri Lanka Artillery.

During the colonial period the Ceylon Garrison Artillery personnel manned British Coastal artillery batteries. After independence and establishment Artillery Regiment, the corps depended on its World War II-era British BL 6 inch coastal guns, 40 mm anti-aircraft guns, 3.7 inch heavy anti-aircraft guns and 4.2-inch heavy mortars. Later British Ordnance QF 25 pounder Mark III field guns and 76 mm mountain guns were introduced.

New sources of weaponry in the 1990s and 2000s included China and the Czech Republic. With the escalation of the Sri Lankan civil war 120 mm, 152 mm, 130 mm howitzers and 120 mm, 82 mm mortars were introduced, and in 2000 RM-70 Multiple rocket launchers were added, increasing SLA’s firepower. Target acquisition systems are also operated by the corps to locate enemy guns.

The air defence role has now been completely taken over by the Sri Lanka Air Force Regiment.

Multiple rocket launchers


Artillery (Ceremonial)

Heavy and Towed mortars

  • Type 84 (W84) 82 mm mortars
  • Type 86 (W86) 120 mm mortars

Notable members


Order of precedence

Preceded by
Sri Lanka Armoured Corps
Order of Precedence Succeeded by
Sri Lanka Engineers
Preceded by
Mechanized Infantry Regiment
(with armored vehicles)
Order of Precedence
(with Guns)
Succeeded by
Sri Lanka Engineers
(with engineering vehicles)

See also

Sri Lanka Army


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