ECONOMYNEXT – The Sri Lanka Air Force is expanding its capability to detect narcotics and explosives at airports with the addition of twenty canines brought from the Netherlands specialised in the task.
The passing out parade of the new Air-dogs was reviewed by SLAF chief Air Marshall Sudarshana Pathirana.
The dogs and their handlers were trained at the Sri Lanka Police Kennel Division in Asgiriya and the National Dangerous Drugs Control Board using live samples of explosive and narcotic substances.
The SLAF runs the sniffer dogs at all international airports in Sri Lanka and are also trained to assist search and rescue teams in times of disaster, including landslides.
Financial assistance for the air dogs was by the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka.
Five Belgian Malinois, five Labrador Retrievers, five German Shepherds and five English Springer Spaniels, joined the Air Dog Unit on January 13.
The SLAF Air Dog unit was set up on 23 August 1972 was re-designated as the No 48 Regiment Wing in 2012. It was again re-designated as the Air Dog Wing in early 2013.
From July 16, 2013 it is known as the SLAF Air Dog Unit.
The unit is commanded by Wing Commander Niroshan Kumarasinghe.
The SLAF Air Dog Unit functions under Director Ground Operations and is actively involved in Air Field Defence Operations, Search Operations at all International Airports of the country and in Search and Rescue Operations during natural disasters, the SLAF said. (Colombo/Jan15/2021)
Reported by Imesh Ranasinghe