இலங்கை இறுதி போரின் மூத்த விமானப்படை ஒருங்கிணைப்பாளராக இருந்த Sumangala Dias has been nominated as Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Canada. His name along with the names of eight others has been forwarded to the High Post Committee of Parliament for confirmation.
Educated at Nalanda College, Colombo, Dias enlisted in the Sri Lanka Air Force as part of its 13th Officer Cadet Intake on 13 December 1984. On completing basic and advanced flight training, he was commissioned as a Pilot Officer in the General Duties Pilot Branch on 15 August 1986Dias was wounded in action over Silavaturai during the opening stages of Eelam War II in 1990, as part of the SLAF’s support operations of besieged Sri Lanka Army positions. After completing a Command and Staff Course in India, he was assigned to the No. 6 Squadron operating out of SLAF Vavuniya.
Having being promoted to the rank of Squadron Leader, Dias was appointed Commanding Officer of the No. 2 Heavy Transport Squadron at SLAF Ratmalana on 21 October 1996, and then CO of the No. 8 Light Transport Squadron based there. After completing a Staff Course at the Indian Defence Services Staff College in 2001, he was promoted to the rank of Wing Commander, and appointed commanding officer of the No. 6 Squadron on 26 June 2002.
On 1 June 2005, Dias was appointed Base Commander at SLAF Hingurakgoda; in 2008 he was appointed Senior Air Coordinator for the final stages of Eelam War IV, coordinating SLAF operations with the ground operations of the 57-, 58 and 59 divisions of the Sri Lanka Army. He also completed a National Defence Course at the National Defence College Bangladesh.
On 5 December 2009, he was appointed Base Commander at SLAF Katunayake, and promoted to the rank of Air Commodore by 2011. Dias then saw a rapid rise through the ranks, starting in 2013 when he was appointed Deputy Director of Air Operations, to Deputy Director Logistics on 28 February 2014, to Director Logistics on 1 July 2014 and then to Acting Director of Air Operations on 15 June 2016. He was finally appointed Chief of the Air Staff on 1 October 2016, formally taking up duties on 27 October.
Dias has completed a Joint Air Warfare course in India, and is a trained Aircraft Accident Investigator following a course in Pakistan; he has also held the position of Chief Flight Safety Officer within the SLAF.
Sumangala was presented with Nalanda Keerthi Sri award by his alma mater Nalanda College, Colombo in 2019