Born on 30th December 1965, Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana is a proud product of Dharmaraja
College Kandy. Having joined the SLAF as an Officer Cadet on 2nd July 1985, he completed his Basic
Ground Training at Diyatalawa, securing the award for the Best Cadet of the 14th Officer Cadets Course.
He was a member of the first batch of pilots who were selected for advance flying training in the Pakistan
Air Force and secured the award for the Best Allied Flight Cadet by the Pakistan Air Force. Air Marshal
Pathirana was commissioned in the rank of Pilot Officer on 2nd January 1987 at the PAF Academy,
Risalpur, Pakistan. Initially commencing his career in the Sri Lanka Air Force as a reconnaissance pilot,
he subsequently transited to Light Transport flying prior to moving on to fast jets as a member of the first
batch of pilots to fly supersonic aircraft in Sri Lanka. He commanded No 5 Fighter, and subsequently, No
10 Fighter Squadrons flying the Kfir C 2 / C 7 extensively. Air Marshal Pathirana is a qualified flying
instructor and a flying examiner. In addition to Kfir and F-7 fighters, he is qualified to operate over 10
types of aircraft earning over 3,500 flying hours. In addition, he holds a Commercial Pilots License and is
a Flying Examiner for the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka.
Air Marshal Pathirana followed his Junior Command and Staff Course at the Command and Staff
and Training Institute, Bangladesh and he also earned the distinction of attending the esteemed Air
Command and Staff College, Air University US Air Force, Alabama, USA, where he became the first Sri
Lankan Air Force Officer to obtain the prestigious Masters in Operational Art and Science awarded by the
Air University, Alabama, USA. In the year 2004, he successfully read for his 2nd Master’s Degree (Defence
Studies) in Management awarded by the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University where he became
first in the order of merit. He attended the National Defence College, New Delhi, India which earned him
the distinguished title “ndc” and was awarded a Master in Philosophy from the University of Chennai in
In recognition of his unblemished and distinguished service, Air Marshal Pathirana has been
awarded the “Vishishta Seva Vibhushanaya” and the “Uttama Seva Padakkama”. For his gallant and selfless
contribution during the humanitarian operations Air Marshal Pathirana was awarded gallantry medals on 8
occasions. namely, “Weera Wickrama Vibhushanaya” twice, “Rana Wickrama Padakkama” twice and
“Rana Sura Padakkama” on four occasions.
Air Marshal Pathirana later went on to command three Air Bases, which includes a tenure as the
Commandant of the Air Force Academy. He was appointed to the Air Force Board of Management in 2017
as the Director Air Operations, and prior to being appointed as the Commander, he served as the Chief of
Staff from 2019 onwards.
Air Marshal Pathirana is an avid golfer who also served as the Chairman of SLAF Golf Previously,
he served as the Chairman of SLAF Athletics. He is married to Mrs. Charmini Pathirana and is the loving
father of Bhashini and Vinura.