The military and technical cooperation between the Russian Federation (then Soviet Union) and Sri Lanka dates back to 1960s. However, the defence relations notably were strengthened with the provision of MIG-15 fighter jets and KAMOV helicopters by the Soviet Union to Sri Lanka to counter the insurrection which erupted in the island nation in 1970s. Subsequently, over the years, the defence cooperation continued to develop and new relationships started to flourish.
Since 1990s, the Soviet Union and subsequently the Russian Federation extended an unwavering support to the military forces of Sri Lanka throughout the battle against separatist terrorism for nearly three decades. Sri Lankan Army(SLA) was equipped with Russian made infantry weapons and Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) inducted Russian built aircraft beginning a new a chapter in the military and technical cooperation with the Russian Federation.
The acquisition of Mi-17 medium lift helicopters from Russia in year 1993 expanded the air mobility capability of SLA whilst the acquisition of Mi-24 attack helicopters in 1995, fulfilled the long outstanding requirement of a dedicated attack helicopter to the SLAF. Mig-27 ground attack aircraft, which were acquired in 2000s, augmented air interdiction capability of SLAF. Those Russian aircrafts changed the dynamics in the battlefield and paved the way to bring the peace to the country in 2009.
The subsequent developments in the military and technical cooperation between the two countries were further enhanced with the appointment of the first Sri Lankan Defence Attache to the Sri Lankan Embassy in the Russian Federation in Sep 2007.
At present, the military personals of both countries participate in training and joint training exercises conducted in each country to share the knowledge and experiences. Visits of higher level delegations to each other, including chiefs of the military services of both countries has contributed in improving the mutual understanding and further development of the cooperation.
Following are the notable areas in the existing military cooperation:
a. Yearly Military cooperation action plan
b. Defence and military technical cooperation
c. International military assistance