Friday, October 26, 2007

Only 70% completed country's Air Defence System-Air Chief

Certain areas of Sri Lankan air space are still vulnerable and it needs at least 06 to 07 months to complete the air defence system fully activated, Air Force chief Air Marshall Roshan Gunathilake said.
Air Force commander met the journalists at weekly press briefing today in Colombo just 04 days after the devastating attack on one of the country’s main air base, by the Black Tiger suicide squad of the LTTE with the help of Tiger air wing.
Gunathilake said that at least 70% of the installation of the air defence system is now in place covering all strategically important areas, with out identifying covered and uncovered areas.
He said that Air Force was able to protect the camp by killing all the infiltrated tiger suicide cadres in the Anuradhapura air base early on Monday 22.
Prime Minister Rathnasiri Wickremanayake admitted in the parliament after two days of the attack that the air force had lost 08 air craft in the attack, the number which LTTE claimed even before the attack ends.
Independent sources confirmed at least another dozen of air crafts have had considerable damages and are out of operation at the movement.
Air Force commander denied the media reports and said only US$ 15 million were lost due to the attack, but sources close to defence establishment confirmed that the amount is little shorter than three times of the official figure.
Government has made sudden changes in command and operational structure of the armed forces, after the Anuradhapura attack which is considered as the island’s biggest ever lost in a single incident in financial terms.
Outer parameter security of all the air bases in the country with airports, have been assigned to army and at least two of them will be protected by elite Special Forces regiment soldiers else where in the country.
Major General Santh Karunartne, has been appointed as the Overall Operation Commander for the District of Anuradhapura hours after the attack, undoubtedly the worst ever set back military had in the undeclared Eelam War IV.


Sarinda Perera said...

Guys, I wonder if you can help me out here:

a) When exactly was it that the Air Defence system was first envisaged?

b) When did development work begin?


san said...

airforce lost just 15 million US $ ?????

shay said...


The dailynews article below gives the registration number of the Beech that was destroyed as CR842 (year of purchase 1984). That is the SIGNIT.

Can you confirm whether it was the Beech HISAR or the SIGNIT that was destroyed?

Jambudipa said...

This guy wants to give the impression 30% less 'Air Defence System' was the cause for the debacle! In reality it was mundane perimeter protection failure that caused the damage.

The only real challenge for the SLAF is protection of their assets on ground which they have utterly failed yet again to do. This is not good enough when the Army now has to baby sit these idiots when they should be able to protect themselves considering the amount of tax payer funds pumped into the system.

tangara said...

From another blog...
Suicide Commandos Strike Back
October 26, 2007: The Anuradhapura air base was home to many recon aircraft, including Israeli made UAVs. Many of these aircraft were damaged by the recent LTTE attack, and will be out of action for days, or weeks. But the government has plenty of recent intelligence to act on, and for the last few days, air attacks have increased. But over the next few weeks, air and naval operations won't be as successful, because of the lost reconnaissance capability. Meanwhile, the situation for the LTTE forces in the north has not changed. The army is still catching groups of LTTE fighters trying to sneak past army lines, to carry out ambushes and attack government bases. The Black Tiger raid four days ago was carried out by at least 21 LTTE fighters who had slipped past army troops. But army artillery and air force bombers kill and wound LTTE gunmen each day, a process that is wearing down LTTE morale.

October 24, 2007: The government punished several officers responsible for security at the Anuradhapura air base, and reorganized the security forces for key facilities, like air bases. The Anuradhapura raid was something the military and police knew was possible, and those in charge of air base security had not done all they could to prevent it. In particular, there were problems with coordinating the security work of police, army, air force and intelligence personnel. This is going to be changed. The Black Tiger commandoes have been around for 25 years, and, while the government has stymied many Black Tiger attacks of late, you can't underestimate the enemy suicide attackers.

October 22, 2007: In a bold move to break the navy blockade that was increasingly successful at keeping out enemy supplies, the LTTE attacked the Anuradhapura air base, 170 kilometers north of the capital, and destroyed a radar recon aircraft that was used to keep an eye on the sea, as well as for finding LTTE bases on land. The 21 LTTE "Black Tiger" commandos were killed during the operation, along with 14 government troops. Seven other aircraft (trainers and helicopters) were also destroyed, and ten other aircraft damaged. Two of the LTTEs five single engine "bombers" also took part in the pre-dawn raid, dropping small bombs. This raid reminded the government that the LTTE still has a core of very good fighters. While many of the less professional LTTE fighters are out of action or suffering low morale, there remains several thousand very dedicated fighters, including several hundred who train for suicidal attacks like the recent one on the air base.

Strategy page...

Renegade! said...

Now that the dust is trying to settle(or so the givernment ho!!pes),by publishing crap from the airforce commander-only 70% of air defence completed-what the F@#k's this idiot talking about-he should resign from his position & set an example to all AF ranker's that top leadership accepts responsibility for Xtremely hilarious blunders,that happen time & again,with no lessons learned whasoever,from previous experiences..DOES KATUNAYAKE-2001 ring any bells,dear air force commander?(of course u can cover yourself saying u were not he COMMANDER then).Now,that's something..The stink in the AF has to be taken away..

NOLTTE=Peace said...


Calm down man.

You seem to loose your cool and show your stripes.

mottapala said...

I cnt believe what the air force chief says. What he says is completely irrelavent to what has happend. Damage was due to failure to protect themselves on the ground.And even if the bloody radar system was up and running does anybody things would have been different? Why was the multimillion mig's coudn't take off from Katunayaka?[which is supposed to possible within ten minutes] Is he trying to say it is not their fault that the ground troups coud'nt protect the airforcebase? May be is is the fault of the army or police.

I remeber there was a time you coudn't move any choppers whenever therer was a popular teledrama on tv.[people who has airforce pilot friends will know that]

Did the SF troops came all the way from Vavunia by road?

If that was the case it looks ridiculous!

Illegal.existence said...

"undoubtedly the worst ever set back military had in the undeclared Eelam War IV."

Are we forgetting Muhamalai, October 11th last year?

Defencewire said...

As far as I know, the CR842 had FLIR, also called Thermal Imaging and the CR843 had the SIGNIT. I have been told that the former aircraft is still in tact and at an undisclosed location. The SIGNIT Beechcraft's loss will be felt in the monsoons.

Someone asked me about UAVs,
Plans are underway already so we will keep quiet about it. It will not, however be HISAR. Earlier special plans were made to test small tactical recon crafts.

Defencewire said...

40-man team was airlifted.

I think in terms of losses to assets, yes, this is the biggest loss. The MBTs and APCs weren't as expensive.

GoldenEagle said...

Good, lets get better high tech UAVs this time that can operate in real time.

BTW,we must also fit security cameras in bases for added security next time.

defenceAnalyst said...

No amount of equipment will substitute the human eliminate, especially in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism

tangara said...

This sort of situation must be avoided if we are to continue the war on terror...This sounds really bad....

Illegal.existence said...

defensewire, I'd think loosing 300 soldiers and been utterly humiliated on the battlefield was a lot worse that what happened at a poorly defended base in Anuradhapura. Over an year after Muhamalai, we're yet to launch a major operation in the northern theater.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but from what I can gather, the biggest "losses" from the Anuradhapura attack are 1 Mi-24 (the other is clearly repairable, as shown by the pic in yesterday's Daily News), the beachcraft, an Mi-17 and a K8. UAVs aren't as expensive and are quickly replacable, as are the PT-6s.

goldeneagle, good point about the security cameras, but they won't be much use if those supposed to monitor them are asleep or busy watching TV.

GoldenEagle said...


I agree.

Defencewire said...

The ADS was suggested by several security consultants before the KAB attack. That's when a real urge to establish an ADF really arose. Development work began in earnest after that.

I am personally against 'major operations' against insurgents without some support from people on the ground obtained through concrete examples of an alternative to LTTE emerging in the south, under a Sinhalese+Tamil leadership. Its unsettling to 'control' a population who see you as somehow different. The Army's strategy, therefore, is correct. No large columns of troops deployed, no ground-snatching and giving back. Simple search and destroy operations until ground commanders inform its time for a considerably stronger deployment.

Let me think. So an LTTE small group infiltration and capture/retainment of a very large military base in the sacred city of anuradhapura, en route to many other military installations and containing the nerve center of electronic surveillance units is less of a humiliation than a poorly organized and highly publicized military thrust when all ground commanders said this was not the time to launch such. Which scenario demonstrates the enemy's capability better and our lack of it better? I think both, but a little more in favor of A'pura attack because;

1. It was done behind our back throwing us back. its very hard when this happens to keep fighting and motivated.
2. Psychological impact
3. Loss of valuable and specialized -use assets that cannot be replenished at short-notice and crucial for future planning/defence of possible semi-conventional attack by LTTE
4. Second time SLAF failed the other two armed forces and the country.
5. Came after successive operations that had demoralized LTTE supporters nationally and internationally
6. LTTE's ability to create battle-field symbolism - first 'combined Air-Ground attack', Stories of bravery of Black Tigers having greater impact on recruitment, repeatability of more such attacks

The loss of $40million or more, including equipment not even paid for within a few hours, which we cannot afford and which came weeks before a budget where already the defence expenditure was too high to manage, is not a serious loss compared to eight MBTs and APVs.

Loss of 300 soldiers, however is VERY serious, and perhaps the only this weighing in favor of your argument in my opinion, but it happened in the battlefront in good old-fashioned frontal assault (which was the weakness). If I as a field commander was given the option of losing men in a planned assault and a loss of a base under my charge, I would like to fight with my men till they, and even me if that is the case, die than be humiliated by my inability to guard my arse!

GoldenEagle said...


What ever successful raids the LTTE can mount against our military bases, installations and outposts they still have to show the diaspora real "bang for their buck".

They can mount raids and carry out sucide bombings, but what will it do to bring them closer to Eelam? Sooner or later the LTTE have to go on the offensive and try to capture Jaffna or Trico. Which means they have to come out of their entrenched positions to start conquering.

If the rumors flying around are true about the LTTE money collectors promising the diaspora that whis will be the "last major money collecting drive to fund the final war which will win Eelam" then VP is pressed to deliver results.

Our armed forces have come a long way since 2002 when the CFA was signed. It will be much harder for the LTTE to mount a major offensive that is capable of pushing this well armed army back. The LTTE got a taste of it back 1 year ago when they tried to put a move on the Kayts Islands.

Sarinda Perera said...

Thanks DW.

Unknown said...

tamilnet is on a role saying that tiger aircrafts had downed the bell 212... they are quoting from athas's reports on his defence column with "eyewitness" accounts...
Can there be any truth to this?
Tamilnet would've had a field day is this was true so i would assume it's Athas's wild imagination at work...

Defencewire said...

The Bell 212 was downed by our own people by mistake (friendly fir incident) due to poor coordination of the air defence system. Saliyapura SLAF camp and the location where the Bell 212 was hit in Mihintale has a 12km distance. The 12.7mm has a range of less than 7kms. How then can a Tiger use a 12.7mm from the SLAF camp perimeter to hit the chopper?

Defence Reporter said...

In 2004 then Air Force commander Air chief Marshall Donald Perera has submitted confidential report to the National Security Council and emphsized the necessity of inastall an air defence system to covering entire country.This was after the Air Force got confirmation over Tigers air assets including the runway in Iranamdu.But the matter has started in early 2006.

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.