Ravindra Wijegunaratne

Admiral Ravindra Chandrasiri Wijegunaratne, WV, RWP & Bar, RSP, VSV, USP, NI(M), ndc, psn, is a retired Sri Lankan naval officer, and former Chief of Defence Staff of the Sri Lanka Armed Forces.[2] He has also served as the Commander of the Sri Lankan Navy, Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Navy, the Director General of the Sri Lanka Coast Guard and held, at various times, four of the seven Naval Commands of the SLN.[3][4][5][6] Wijegunaratne has also served as Director Naval Operations, and is a recipient of the Weerodara Vibhushanaya.[7]

Ravindra C. Wijegunaratne
Ravindra C. Wijegunaratne.jpg
Born (1962-02-22) 22 February 1962 (age 60)[1]
AllegianceSri Lanka
Service/branchNaval Ensign of Sri Lanka.svg Sri Lanka Navy
Years of service1980 – 2019
Service numberNRX0176[1]
UnitSpecial Boat Squadron
Commands heldChief of Defence Staff
Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy
Chief of Staff
Director General Coast Guard
Eastern Naval Command
Northern Naval Area
Western Naval Command
Southern Naval Command
Battles/warsSri Lankan Civil War
AwardsWeerodara vibhushanaya.svg Weerodara Vibhushanaya
Rana Wickrama Padakkama Bar.png Rana Wickrama Padakkama (x2)
Rana Sura Padakkama bar.GIF Rana Sura Padakkama
Vishista Seva Vibhushanaya bar.GIF Vishista Seva Vibhushanaya
Uttama Seva Padakkama Bar.gif Uttama Seva Padakkama
Sri Lanka Armed Services Long Service.jpg Sri Lanka Armed Services Long Service Medal,
Order of Excellence Nishan-e-Imtiaz.png Nishan-e-Imtiaz
Other workFirst Secretary/Defense Attache, Sri Lanka High Commission in New Delhi
John Richardson and Ravindra Wijegunaratne


Born in 1962, Wijegunaratne was educated at the Royal College, Colombo from 1969.[8][9] At Royal College, he was a President's Scout, Lance sergeant of the Herman Loos Cadet Platoon and a School Prefect in addition to representing the school in both hockey and basketball, as well as being an All-Island Junior Athletics Champion.[9] He was the fourth Royalist to be appointed Commander of the SLN.[9]

Graduating in the same year, he enlisted in the Sri Lanka Navy on 1 November 1980 as an officer cadet as part of the 9th Intake at the Naval and Maritime Academy, Trincomalee.[8] He completed officer training as a Midshipman at both Trincomalee and Dartmouth (where he was awarded 'Best International Midshipman, 1982') in 1982.[8] He would go on to follow a Sub-lieutenant technical course and specialize in anti-submarine warfare in India, and followed a staff course at the Pakistan Navy War College.[8] In 1996 he gained a BSc in War Studies from the University of Karachi, and later graduated from the National Defense University (NESA) and National Defence College, India (50th NDC Course - 2010).[8] In 2010, he obtained an MPhil in Defence and Strategic Studies at the University of Madras.[8][9] He is a Member of the Nautical Institute.

Naval careerEdit

Starting out as a Sub-lieutenant, Admiral Wijegunaratne gained early exposure to the Sri Lankan Civil War fighting alongside India's MARCOS in the Indian Peace Keeping Force's 1987 Operation Pawan.[8] Having been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander, he founded Sri Lanka's elite Special Boat Squadron (SBS) in 1993, building on the work done by Lieutenant commander Shanthi Bahar.[8][10] Wijegunaratne led the SBS during the Battle of Pooneryn and held its command twice through his career, once in 1993-1994 and again in 1999-2000.[8] As a result of his specialization and work in the SBS, he is regarded as an expert in asymmetric naval warfare and small boat operations.[8] Between June 2005 and March 2006, he served as Commanding Officer of the SLN's flagship at that time, SLNS Sayura. He was also instrumental in forming the Sri Lanka Navy Marines.[8]

Promoted to the rank of Commodore, and then to Rear Admiral in 2009,[11] Wijegunaratne has held several appointments and commands within the Sri Lanka Navy:

  • Director Naval Operations
  • Director Naval Weapon Systems
  • Director Special Forces
  • Director Maritime Surveillance
  • Commandant of the Naval and Maritime Academy
  • Flag officer Commanding Naval Fleet
  • Director General Services
  • Commander, Eastern Naval Command
  • Commander, Northern Naval Command
  • Commander, Western Naval Command
  • Commander, Southern Naval Command

As Director Naval Operations in 2007, he oversaw the SLN's efforts to halt Sea Tiger arms smuggling, leading to the destruction of what are thought to be the LTTE's four final floating armouries.[8]

He was appointed the Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Navy on 7 July 2014, and promoted to Vice Admiral and appointed Commander of the Navy on 11 July 2015.[8] On 22 February 2016, President Maithripala Sirisena granted him a six-month service extension as commander.[8]

On 18 August 2017, Wijegunaratne was promoted to the rank of Admiral and appointed Chief of Defense Staff in light of his upcoming retirement from active service.[2] He assumed duties as CDS on 22 August 2017.[12]

Wijegunaratne has also held a diplomatic post as First Secretary and Defense Attaché at the Sri Lankan High Commission in New Delhi between 2001 and 2005.[8] He has been a guest lecturer at the Center for Irregular Warfare and Armed Groups, US Naval War College and the Pakistan Navy War College.[8]


His decorations include Weerodara Vibhushanaya, Rana Wickrama Padakkama twice, Rana Sura Padakkama for gallantry; Vishista Seva Vibhushanaya and Uttama Seva Padakkama for meritorious service, and the Surface Warfare Badge.





On 13 February 2019, Admiral Wijegunaratne was awarded the Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Military) Medal by the President of Pakistan in Islamabad.[13]

Personal lifeEdit

Wijegunaratne is married to Yamuna De Saram and has one son, Satyajith.[8] He has been a keen sportsman since his childhood, and is a qualified diver and parachutist; a parachuting accident in 2001 led to Wijegunaratne breaking both legs.[8] In addition to playing hockey and basketball at school, he has represented the SLN in rugby, and rowing/sailing, both of which he has received Sri Lanka Navy Colours for.[8] He is an expert marksman, and has held the Chair of the Sri Lanka Rifle Association and the Sri Lanka Navy Golf Club.[6][8]


Wijegunaratne was alleged to have threatened and assaulted a journalist during an SLN intervention during a violent dockworkers' strike at the Hambantota Port in December 2016[14][15]


He was awarded the Nishan-e-Imtiaz the highest of civil honor given by the Government of Pakistan in 2019.[16]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Travis Sinniah to have shortest tenure?". srilankamirror.com. Sri Lanka Mirror. 29 September 2017. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne appointed new Chief of Defence Staff". Daily News Sri Lanka. Daily News Sri Lanka. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  3. ^ Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne assumes duties as the 20th Commander of the Navy
  4. ^ Rear Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne has been appointed as the new Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Navy
  5. ^ New Director General of Sri Lanka Coast Guard assumes duties
  6. ^ a b "Commander of the Navy". Navy.lk. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  7. ^ Two Intakes of Sailors pass out at SLNS Nipuna Archived 2011-11-03 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne assumes duties as the 20th Commander of the Navy". Defence.lk. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  9. ^ a b c d "Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne – 20th Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy". royalcollege.lk. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  10. ^ "Sri Lanka Navy- Special Units". Navy.lk. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  11. ^ Ravindra Perera, Tissa (27 September 2009). "Female suicide bombers hiding under NGO cover". The Nation. Sri Lanka. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  12. ^ "Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne assumes office as Chief of Defence Staff". Defence.lk. Ministry of Defence, Sri Lanka. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  13. ^ "Pakistan confers Nishan-i-Imtiaz on Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne". Adaderana. Retrieved 6 May 2022.
  14. ^ "Navy Commander to show cause for allegation against him". Adaderana.lk. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  15. ^ "Arjuna's game-changer ends nine-day Hambantota port strike". Sundayobserver.lk. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  16. ^ Pakistan confers highest military award to Admiral Wijegunaratne

Military offices
Preceded by Chief of the Defence Staff
August 2017 - January 2020
Succeeded by
Preceded by Commander of the Sri Lankan Navy
July 2015 - August 2017
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chief of Staff of the Sri Lankan Navy
July 2014 - July 2015
Succeeded by