Shirantha Goonatilake

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Shirantha Goonatilake
Born Colombo, Sri Lanka
Died 29 April 1995  
Jaffna, Sri Lanka
Allegiance Sri Lanka Sri Lanka
Service/branch Ensign of the Sri Lanka Air Force.svg Sri Lanka Air Force
Rank Air Commodore
Unit No. 1 Flying Training Wing, SLAF
Commands held Commanding Officer Flying Training Wing
Battles/wars Sri Lankan Civil War
Awards Rana Wickrama Padakkama,
Rana Sura Padakkama

Air Commodore Shirantha Goonatilake RWP, RSP, SLAF (? - 29 April 1995  ) was Sri Lankan aviator and most senior Air Force officer to be killed in action. He was the youngest son of Air Chief Marshal Harry Goonatilake the 5th Commander of the Air Force and the brother of the 12th Commander of the Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Roshan Goonatilake.

Early life

Shirantha Goonatilake completed his education at the Royal College, Colombo and followed in the footsteps of his father and elder brother to join the Sri Lanka Air Force.

Military career and death

In the 1980s Goonatilake took to flying SIAI Marchetti SF.260 as ground attack roles and gain the rank of Squadron Leader and lead the Red formation during the famed Operation Eagle in 1990.

He was killed on 29 April 1995 when the Avro 748 he was piloting, at the time carrying 45 armed forces personnel, was attacked by the LTTE with a MANPADS. His last words over the radio were "A missile is coming my way", giving the Air Force the first indication that the LTTE were using SAMs.[1] He was the Commanding Officer of No. 1 Flying Training Wing at Ratmalana at the time of his death.


  1. Harry Goonatilake, a true patriot Daily - November 25, 2006

External links