Saturday, September 15, 2007

Who Dares, Wins

Nearly one year ago, on 17th September 2006, the Sri Lanka Navy intercepted and completely destroyed an LTTE arms ship in the deep seas off Kalmunai. On 28th February 2007, The Navy repeated this herculean task by destroying another LTTE arms ship south of Dondra Head. On 18th March 2007, the Navy again destroyed two LTTE arms ships Southeast of Arugam Bay. Little did anyone know that these victories were paving the way for an unprecedented 'kill' for the Navy.

September 2007 was again a busy month for Navy Intelligence. Many officers spent sleepless hours putting together a huge jig-saw-puzzle. They had scraped together an idea of the location, a date, exact number of and accurate description of four LTTE ships packed with Artillery shells and other lethal cargo bound for the LTTE. Navy Commander Vice Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda took a very bold decision. The decision was to send three of the Navy's most deep-sea-worthy and heavily-armed vessels on a very long journey. This offensive operation was to be launched far-away from the shores of Sri Lanka. The vessels included Two Off-shore Patrol Vessels and one Missile Frigate. The Navy didn't forget one crucial thing. That was to send its 'source' along with the flotilla of ships out to sea.

Thanks to the 'source' on board, on 11th September 2007, the Navy armada was able to clearly identify three LTTE arms ships in the deep seas. The Navy cautioned those on-board to stop but instead received a barrage of mortar shells. The ships were clearly LTTE. Sensing doom, each ship, with a crew of about 10-15 Sea Tigers, were using the mortar tubes on-board to attack the Navy. The Navy opened-up with its own barrage of fire, which included 105mm and 72mm cannons. Within minutes, the artillery shells on-board the LTTE ships caught fire and wrecked the ships. Gradually, the destroyed vessels sunk into the deep abyss of the Indian Ocean, never to be seen again. However, in the ensuing melee, the fourth ship had vanished. Apparently, one of the sinking ships had tipped-off the fourth vessel.

With each attack passing, the Navy has dared a little more than before. The September 11th attack was a '9/11' for the LTTE as it never anticipated a Navy ambush 1200 nautical miles out into the sea. DefenceWire has reliably learnt that Naval Intelligence units had single-handedly run the operation. Unlike the previous operations, no Military Intelligence (MI) was involved in the Navy's '9/11' attacks.

The Sea-Tigers, furious with the Navy, did some daring of their own when a cluster of their boats made plans to attack the Navy's Jetliner Transport vessel. The vessel was carrying around 3000 servicemen at the time. Effective reconnaissance helped prevent the LTTE boats being put-out into the sea. The Air Force ponded the boats and forced a retreat before any harm could fall on the Jetliner. The LTTE will most likely dare again to cause maximum damage to the Navy. Exactly when and how they would do that is the million-dollar question.


Anonymous said...

If you check the Sunday observer defence column , you can easily identify the next LTTE sea tiger target..The SLN vessels are coming to the Trinco harbour tomorrow..Why SLN is digging its own grave yard.?

Sam Perera said...

Anyway, we are damn proud of the cleverness of our Navy. Way to go, and never stop imagining the impossible and and make them come true.

Defencewire said...

SLN is quite aware of this issue. You must take our word for it. SLN is also considering changing defensive posture and becoming more offensive. This does not mean security measures are forsaken. They are working round the clock on both defensive and offensive fronts.

shay said...


Just a few clarifications if you don't mind.

In your article you refer to 3 SLN ships (2 OPV's and 1 missile craft). However the newspapers claimed that SLNS Shakthi (LST) also took part in addition to 2 logistics vessels. Is this correct?

You also refer to the SLN using 72mm and 105mm cannons? Are you sure about that? I know the Saar 4 missile craft originally had 76mm OTO Melara cannon, has this been replaced by 72mm (is that a Russian/Chinese weapon)? Which ships have 105mm cannons? The video clips released by the MoD of past naval attacks on LTTE weapons ships don't show anything more than medium calibre weapons being used by the SLN.

How many vessels do we currently have that have deep sea/blue water capabilities apart from the 2 OPV's (Sayura, Samudura) and 2 Saar 4 missile craft (SLNS Nadimitra currently not operational)? Are their any definite plans to enhance the SLN's blue water capabilities with the addition of more vessels? If so do you know what type of vessels we might be buying (i.e. more OPV's or missile armed patrol boats/corvettes)? Is there another OPV that we have already acquired from India currently in service?

Defencewire said...

The three ships we mentioned were the ones that actually mounted the attack on LTTE ships. The 3rd OPV couldn't find its target. Two more ships were at hand in a different location for supply purposes. We are not aware of any plans by the Navy to upgrade its fleet to become a blue-water Navy. 105mm canons are widely used in OPVs, and other flag-ships. The Fast Missile Craft did not have 105. 105mm is still in use in many Navy's, especially in Scandinavian countries. 105mm were used extensively in the Korean War, so its not a new gun. 105mm howitzer is also used by land forces. The Israeli FMC can use Harpoons and 76 mm Oto Melara canons. They can also be upgraded with other types of US and Israeli missiles, which are non-effective against the LTTE.

Defencewire said...

72mm must be corrected to 76mm. We apologize for our mistake. Thank you!

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