Sri Lanka Army Special Forces Regiment

The Sri Lanka Army Special Forces Regiment (SF) (Sinhala: විශේෂ බලකාය Visēsha Balakāya; Tamil: சிறப்பு படைகள் ரெஜிமென்ட்) is one of two special operations units of the Sri Lanka Army, alongside the Sri Lanka Army Commando Regiment. Since its inception as a combat tracker team in 1986, the unit gradually expanded into a brigade consisting of several regiments. It is one of the top-secret units in the Sri Lanka Army.

Special Forces Regiment
ActiveDecember 1986 - Present
CountrySri Lanka
BranchSri Lanka Army
TypeSpecial Forces
RoleAsymmetric warfare
Counter Terrorism
Special Operations
SizeFour Regiments
Regimental HeadquartersNaula
Motto(s)අධිෂ්ඨානයෙන් අභීතව අරමුණ කරා
(Sinhala: To the target with determination and bravery
Determined, Dared and Done
ColorsRed and Black
Brigadier Harendra Ranasinghe
Colonel of
the Regiment
Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake
Colonel A.F. Lafir
Black beret with regimental cap badge with Jolly Roger skull-and-crossed-bones arm patch "Special Forces" shoulder tab


The Sri Lanka Army Special Forces evolved from organization initially known as “Combat Tracker Team”. This group at the inception in 1985 had two Officers and 38 men and was to be tasked to carry out small group operations which have capability of operating deep in enemy territory against LTTE terrorism in time of war. This Combat Tracker Team led by the dedicated and devoted leadership of Maj Gen (retired) G. Hettiarachchi, WWV, RWP, RSP, USP, psc from the Sri Lanka Armoured Corps (SLAC) (then Major) and Col A. F. Lafir, PWV, RWP, RSP, (posthumous) (Then Lt). Subsequently, with the formation of the Special Service Group (SSG) the Combat Tracker Team becomes the reconnaissance element of the SSG. Later as the SSG concept failed to materialized, the Combat Tracker Team changes its name as Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) (Special Force) and operated independently. With the massive successful results of the RDF it was gradually expanded to 04 squadrons. In December 1988 the RDF (SF) was officially designated as 1 st Regiment Special Forces. At present the Special Forces consist of a Regimental Centre, SF Brigade, Training School, 4 Battalions and Regimental Headquarter Battalion –Special Forces.


Current SF roles are believed to include:


There has been no informative disclosure about the selection and induction processes of the Special Forces Brigade confirmed by the Sri Lankan Army. Information regarding the unit's selection and induction processes remain highly classified.

Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol

The Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) is designated as covert operations unit of the Sri Lanka Army. This unit is operated under the Directorate of Military Intelligence of the Army and for this LRRP, it is believed to be composed of personnel from the Commando Regiment and Special Forces Regiment.


Special Forces Training School was established on 15 February 1992 and it is conducting the basic and specialized training for all Special Forces personnel. It also conducts special courses to train instructors from other battalions in the Army and has also helped to train Navy Special Boat Squadron personnel and Sri Lanka Air Force Regiment Special Force.

  • 1st Regiment Special Forces consist of highly trained Special Forces Vehicle Operators. They are proved to be forces to reckon-with, due to their quick reaction capability.
  • 2nd Regiment Special Forces was initially raised in 1994 with 3 Squadrons. Today it is a fully fledged battalion with 04 fighting squadrons. It has a diving team with assault boats and consisting of combat divers capable in Underwater demolition.
  • 3rd Regiment Special Forces, which was initially established as an Amphibious Warfare unit in 1996, has changed its roles and currently serves as the premier Counter Terrorist unit of the Special Forces Brigade. Selection for this unit is open to all active-duty members of the Special Forces Brigade.
  • 4th Regiment Special Forces was established in 2008.
  • 5th Regiment Special Forces, which was established in 2009, was disbanded on 1 April 2012.
  • New special urban fighting squadron was raised on 16 April 2012 for Hostage Rescue and Counter Terrorism Missions.


The insignia depicts Eagle has been regarded as symbol of courage and warlike qualities, a sing qua non for any member of the Special Forces. The superior imposition of the eagle indicated the ability the unit of scooping towards its prey. It is well equipped for its task with its hooked beak. Wonderful keen eyes help to locate the target, powerful wings help to rush to the target, curved talons help to grab the target and hooked bear help to destroy the target. All those magnificently adapted to its requirements.

Four Sharp Arrows- Placed on the background of the insignia and pointing to either side, depict the regiments basic concept of a 4 – man team and its capability of deep penetration(LRRP) into enemy territory and operating in small groups whose skills and have been sharpened as an arrow's head. Placing them crossing each other is intended to give the idea of combined strength and mutual support within as well as with other forces in all types of operation.

Recipient of the Parama Weera Vibhushanaya

Notable members

  • Major General G. Hettiarachchi, WWV, RWP, RSP, USP,
  • Colonel A.F. Lafir PWV, RWP, RSP   - Former Commanding Officer of the 1st Regiment Special Forces
  • Lieutenant Colonel J.A.L Jayasinghe, WWV, RWP, RSP  
  • Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayaka -Former Special Forces Brigade Commander and Present Commander Of the Army
  • Major General Presanne Silva Retd -Former Special Forces Brigade Commander
  • Colonel Raj Vijesiri Retd- Founder of the Long Range Concept for Special Forces and former Special forces Brigade Commander
  • Major Ajith Perera Retd
  • Major Rohan Wijesinghe Retd
  • Lt Col Channe Waduge Retd
  • Major General Nirmal Dharmaratne -Former Special Forces Brigade Commander
  • Brigadier Harendra Ranasingle - Former Special Forces Brigade Commander
  • Brigadier Sujeewa Senarathyapa - Special Forces Brigade Commander
  • Colonel Nishshanka Eriyagama
  • Colonel Chandimal Pires
  • Colonel Mahinda Ranasingle
  • Colonel Vipula Ihalage
  • Col Thushara Mahalekam
  • Lt Colonel Kamal Amarasighe
  • Lt Col Presad Randunu
  • Lt Col Kanchana Weerasinghe
  • Lt Colonel Kavin Perera
  • Major Darshama Ratnayaka Retd
  • Major Upul Wirasinghe Retd
  • Major Udaya Konarasinghe Retd

Further reading

  • The Perfect Soldier: Special Operations, Commandos, and the Future of U.S. Warfare by James F. Dunnigan[1]

See also


  1. Publisher : Citadel, Year:(June 1, 2003), Language: English, ISBN 0-8065-2415-4 / ISBN 978-0-8065-2415-3
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