Friday, October 26, 2007

Chinese Arms in LTTE Hands

In a picture released of the latest troupe of young Tamils to sacrifice themselves to the unattainable dream of Tamil Ealam see the Tigers brandishing nothing but Chinese weapons. In the picture, some Black Tiger cadres carry QBZ 97, export version of QBZ 95, produced for the Republic of China military by Q─źng Buqiang-Zidong company, designed by NORINCO (China North Industries Corporation). The weapon is a 5.56mm caliber (NATO-term) weapon.

Members of the group is also shown holding Anti-Tank Weapons, also made in China (Type-69 or RPG7 variation) loaded with Airburst Anti-Personnel HE with HEAT rockets in their back. The body colour of this weapon seems to indicate it is more a T69. Members of the group also hold 66mm Light Anti-Tank Weapons (LAWs) with disposable rounds and the RPGs are of reusable type. One Tiger poses with a CIS 40 Singapore made 40mm Grenade Launcher (CIS 40 GL). Tamil Tigers use CIS 40 and Ultimax LMG as weapon of choice in many battles. The Sub Machine Gun held by one Tiger is a T86 silenced version and again 5.56mm. The LMGs in the picture are Type 88 GPMG (QJY 88 or General Purpose Machine Gun).

Those weapons are all Chinese and seem to be directly imported from China through Burma or Chinese weapons bought and resold by the Burmese Junta. There is a high likelihood that NORINCO, China North Industries Corporation, a state-run company, is selling the weapons and using the Burmese route to sell such weapons to the LTTE (Click here to see how China's NORINCO is aiding Burma). The same company sold weapons to Sudan. Unlike in the weapons manufactured in the West, many of these Chinese firearms do not have serial numbers and are therefore very difficult to trace without any records available of their manufacture, purchase or eventual destination.

The Singapore government has cracked down on illegal arms sales following a revelation and subsequent international pressure that they sold weapons to aid a conflict in the Balkans. However, the LTTE's acquisition of the CIS 40 GL Grenade Launcher seems to indicate otherwise. Whatever the case maybe, the Chinese are double-crossing the Sri Lankan government.

We like to thank our reader nemesis for drawing our attention to the picture and starting the conversation.


GoldenEagle said...


I highly doubt that the Chinese Government is intentionally double crossing us. Most likely these weapons were brought by the LTTE from a SE Asian black market. China wishes to see this war end, it is in their interest to gain our support.

Many Chinese weapons are ending up in the hands of the terrorists all over the world. Just look at the Taliban and Iraqi insurgents.

So many weapons are manufactured in China, so its very hard to keep track with all of them. Plus corruption is a big problem is China at the moment. I heard many Chinese military generals are willing to sell small arms to any country behind the back of the government to make a quick buck for themselves.

Illegal.existence said...

This is nice, about the Tissamaharama incident,

"The incident occurred when a group of sailors were returning from the Yala naval base. "One of the tyres on the bus they were traveling in had burst, and thinking that it was a Tiger attack, the Navy personnel in the bus had opened fire on the surrounding forest area," a Navy official said."

I guess everyone's jumpy after the recent LTTE attacks. But better be on alert than sit idly by while the LTTE is around.

Anonymous said...

Any thing is possible when it comes to international issues. Isreal, China, Pakistan, India any country may give arms to either party. We are not in controling position on this anyway.

BTW, we normally beleive our officials are smart, inteligent and know stuff at least more than us. But when we read some of DN and DW areticles and comments I dought this is true anymore.

Defencewire said...

Actually the Chinese care only about the money. A large stock of arms is sold to third parties in South/south East Asia by Norinco. Intentional or unintentional, if they want they can stop it.

GoldenEagle said...


True, the Chinese have become very capitalistic.

BTW do you know if we are ever going to buy an aircraft with a HISAR system again? I think we will need atleast 5 of them.

Defencewire said...

Do you mean Raytheon HISAR systems? If anyone ants to know more about China and NORINCO's connection to Burma, go to

Sean said...

That's only a hypothesis. It's hard to say "China doublecrossed Sri Lankan government"
China is supporting Myanmar on a large scale despite UN recently decided to take sanctions against the country. Simply, china doesn't care since they're one of the superpowers.
The point here is Tigers have Chinese weapons and there is a provider for those pieces. I think it's only a matter of time to reveal it. Think about who has those pieces and who needs cash desperately.

Defencewire said...

The reason why I mentioned double crossing is because during a recent visit from Sri Lanka, defence officials requested China to monitor their weapons. China promised they have never done that. But the truth is there for everyone to see. They seem to care more about the business.

NOLTTE=Peace said...

Check the below link out

LTTE connection with Liberia and the Chinese arms dealers.

SLWATCH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GoldenEagle said...


Yes, I mean Raytheon HISAR systems.

Unknown said...

The Chinese Gov. and a few in arms trade makes tons of $ by selling anything to anyone.

The might (PRC) be our “friends” but money speaks very loud even with friends.

As the famous saying by a Brit FM goes “we have no permanent friends, nor do we have permanent enemies, we only have permanent interests”

DefenceWire, mates

The fact is most weapons used by the LTTE are of Chinese origin. QBZ-97 has seen limited official export. I’m sure our peacekeepers have seen them with the Chinese peacekeepers. Its main advantage is in its Bullpup design which allows the weapon to be shorter in length (helps in CQB situations and when moving in urban/vehicular environments) whiles retaining a full barrel length, which gives better accuracy.

The LTTE liked the 5.56mm NATO round from the early 80’s despite its lack of stopping power compared to the Russian 7.62x39 (which is used in the T-56/81 ARs & T-56/81 LMGs) the 5.56’s relative flat trajectory and better accuracy (comparatively) makes it a ideal short range weapon (100~250m). A 5.56mm rifle is also lighter in weight. Which helps the tigers to keep there mobility. Some of the grenades shown in the aftermath pics look like the Type 82-2 (also fondly called the “$5 grenade” by SE Asian criminals for its cheap price and availability)

But my main worry is not the Type-97 AR, it is the Type-85 Suppressed SMG (btw it is chambered it 7.62x25mm round which packs a nasty punch up to 100m) These SMGs are a bit hard to come by. And now the tigers seem to have quite a number of them. This SMG would give the tigers the ability to take VIP targets like Hon. Kadir, even at night and melt away.

I wonder if the tigers have acquired the Type-97’s sniper/marksman rifle too? (it has a heavier, longer barrel) it too can be equipped with a suppressor.

If the tigers could get the Type-85 SMG then they will have no problem getting the new 7.62x39mm API rounds which are stinging the Americans (even with Body armor) in Iraq. Not to mention the 14.5mm HEI rounds for the Sea tigers.

I think it’s high time the Gov. took the Chinese up to task and ask for an official investigation in to Chinese arms reaching the Tigers. Failing which stronger diplomatic measures must be initiated.

Regional cooperation is vital to combat this flow.


Mate, thanks for the compliments, Im but a common citizen.

Sarinda Perera said...


How old is the newest of those weapons?

NOLTTE=Peace said...


"Im but a common citizen. :-)"

Me too...

Never mind.. love to see you sharing your vast knowledge!

RomeoAlphaFoxtrot said...

Nemesis - thanks mate for elaborating on the weapons used in the tamilnet picture, I pointed out for your reference. Great knowledge... You say you are common man eh... hmmmm :)

Back to the subject guys - do you think we have the bargaining power to demand an inquiry from the Chinese ? Remember we are not only depending on them for military assistance but also political (UN security council) and Economical assistance (prime e.g - the Hambantota Harbour)

Renegade! said...

nemesis,superb analysis!!Common man with a military touch,i suppose?he.he

Defencewire said...

The QBZ-97 at the hands of the LTTE, I must say, isn't a common site. Our elite units prefer Heckler and Koch SMGs due to their accuracy during CQB. But then, the whole point in buying Chinese weapons is that they cannot be traced and their easy availability.

The 5.56mm NATo has a special characteristic to it. When used properly and in the right distance, it explodes inside the human body causing more damage than most.

The T-85 suppressed SMG can be traced using a listen deck. In VIP protection, the counter attack team comes second. prevention comes first.

ceramic composite disks can be used to stop an API round, which can easily be fired from a AK or T-56 variant. HEIs can also be used with explosive absorbent armour. However, a rifle is a rifle and it s bullet cannot always be stopped whether its armour piercing incendiary or high explosive incendiary!

Unknown said...

Noltte=peace, rif, rifard,

Thanks mate,

Yep, “a commoner with a military touch” would suit me fine :)


“However, a rifle is a rifle and it s bullet cannot always be stopped whether its armour piercing incendiary or high explosive incendiary”

Right on the point, well said. Nothing is fully bullet proof.

Any other news on the post attack investigations that is safe to share?

And wonder what type of NVG’s the tigers used in the attack? We could try to trace them…unless they are from a stock that was made for Covert Ops in a Major country they all carry serials No.

And just look at the Tigers & their I-coms, ICOM sets are cheaper than Motorola sets that our boys use. IOCM is more freely available in the market too. Im not against Motorola they are a fine brand.
(personally I thing we should switch from civil models to Encrypted Hand & manpack sets [1~7Wats] at least at tactical levels with data pads and better antennas) & our guys use the shortest ones which limit the range of communications where as the tigers are known to carry the long one so that they can chat long distant (at least to my knowledge)

just a view.


Do we have the juice the challenge the PRC(China)?
I agree, At the moment not much. Yes they have too bigger stake in SL, but so do all “other interested parties” but we should try at every level possible in a very diplomatic “balancing act”

A good strong defence/diplomatic strategy/socio-political strategy in the future should gain us the influence & power needed to stand on our feet and be par with all. I’m talking long term.

About Us

We are a Non-Political Group of Defence Experts Sharing Our Knowledge For the Good Of Our Country. This is a Voluntary Effort. We Report to No-one But You.

Contact US

You can contact us by e-mail on and on


DefenceWire or its editors are not responsible for the opinions expressed by the contributors to this website.