Air Vice Marshal Harsha Duminda Abeywickrama who will assume duties as the 13th Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force tomorrow is an old boy of Royal College, Colombo. He enlisted in the Sri Lanka Air Force as an Officer Cadet in the General Duties Pilot branch on April 19, 1980 and was commissioned in the rank of Pilot Officer on April 3, 1982.
During his Air Force career of 30 years, AVM Abeywickrema has held instructional, operational, planning, command and combatant command appointments including Commanding Officer of the first Fighter Squadron, Commanding Officer of the Sri Lanka Air Force base at Palaly, Commandant Flying Training Wing, Base Commander at China Bay, Anuradhapura and Ratmalana Bases, Zonal Commander East and Chief Instructor of Air Wing of the Defence Services Command and Staff College.
At Air Force Headquarters AVM Abeywickrama served as the Deputy Chief of Staff, Director Air Operations and overlooked the duties of Director Logistics.
He was instrumental in the formation of the First Supersonic Fighter Squadron of the Sri Lanka Air Force and the Air Wing of the Defence Services Command and Staff College.
He has had the privilege of being one of the first pilots of the Sri Lanka Air Force to gain competency to pilot the F-7 and Kfir jets which were inducted to the Sri Lanka Air Force in 1991 and 1996 respectively.
AVM Abeywickrama received the ‘Rana Wickrama Padakkama’ and the ‘Rana Sura Padakkama’ for acts of bravery during flying missions in the North-East conflict zones, and the ‘Utthama Seva Padakkama’ as recognition to devotion to duty, merit and exemplary conduct.
AVM Abeywickrama is a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College, Air University, Alabama, USA. He earned a Master’s Degree in International Studies from King’s College, University of London, and a Master’s Degree in Management from the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University in Sri Lanka.
He is married to Neelika, an Attorney-at-Law by profession and their only son, Kasun is an undergraduate.