Thursday, October 18, 2007

The LTTE's North Korean Connection

A South Korean Newspaper called the Sankei Shimbun reported on 26th August 2007 of a North Korean vessel seized while transporting North Korean weapons from Chonjin to Sri Lankan rebels. According to the Sankei Shimbun, the weapons being smuggled to the LTTE included automatic rifles, anti-tank weapons and machine guns. Given the reputation of North Korea at assisting non-state armed elements, and the LTTE’s thirst for new deadly weapons, DefenceWire took the liberty of consulting a South Korean Security Expert who has studied, at length, the LTTE and North Korean weapons systems.

The LTTE has been designing crude stealth craft to boost the firepower of the Sea Tigers, who have incidentally launched over three hundred suicide attacks against the Sri Lanka Navy. Recent video footage of preparation by the LTTE Sea Tigers for suicide missions indicated that the organization was developing a Human Torpedo. The suicide contraption was similar to a one-man water-scooter with detonation cones at the front. This contraption could have little practical use since the suicide cadre is exposed to gunfire, unless the LTTE uses it during conditions of low visibility. The contraption is also useless against fast moving deep-sea vessels, such as the Jetliner Transport ship, which travels at high speeds in deeper waters.

Unfortunately, with a possible collaboration with the North Koreans, new possibilities may have already emerged for the LTTE. Unconfirmed reports had indicated for years that the LTTE was developing a small suicide submarine. This is not an impossible task considering the group managed to launch surprise attacks using light aircrafts smuggled into the country.

The Imperial Japanese Navy used a suicide torpedo called KAITEN during WWII for suicide missions against the Allied Forces. The success or failure of these attacks is controversial. However, this basic design has been modified by the North Koreans to include stealth capabilities
The Kaiten
Since LTTE’s manufacturing capability is under watch by the Security Forces and since a submarine with a steel body needs a building-dock for building and maintaining, the LTTE could turn to the North Koreans for help. Since the LTTE requires a disposable submarine for suicide mission, the LTTE does not need steel bodied full scale submarines. Only possible option is FRP (Fibre-Reinforced Plastic) bodied midget submarines. Therefore the North Korean Yugo class (NATO code name) can be of considerable use for the organization.

The Yugo Class is the smallest SSM in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Navy (DPRK-N). It is made of plastic and hence hard to detect. The vessel is traditionally 66 feet in length and can travel at 8kts submerged. The prominent aspect of the Yugo class is the materials used for the hull. The boat is half made of FRP which enables more stealth and less cost for maintaining. The most significant issue is that given the recent revelations of LTTE-North Korean ties, we can reasonably assume the transferring of FRP submarine technology to the LTTE, thus enabling them to build a much smaller vessel and eliminating the need for building-docks detectable by the Security Forces. When DefenceWire questioned prominent Naval Intelligence Sources, they were not fully aware of the potential threat of suicide torpedoes. Given the organization's history of striking economic targets, the Colombo Harbour could also be at risk from such attacks.

The Yugo Class Midget


jiffy said...

The ltte and submarines. Why do I have that sick feeling in my gut again? Maybe it's because this all feels a little too familiar to the 'last time', just prior to the 'air strike' on colombo, when similar concerns were publicised. Just like now people in the MI started to make these concerns known, almost as a way of letting 'them' know the game plan was blown. The public that regularly followed the defence threads had a brief window of opportunity then to prepare for that strike (or to know that it was on the way). In the last few weeks leading to that event it became clear that there was something imminent on the way.

This feels like a repeat. I hope we're ready :(

Wicky said...

No more Punnakku stories...u r loosing the battle LTTE....

tangara said...

LTTE's next attack on Colombo will be spectacular as any of their previous attacks..The whole idea will be is to grab the world headlines to show that their struggle is far from over..

LTTE will combine a suicide submarine attack with a ground/sea offensive..

To stop the war, LTTE is probably looking at two cenarios.
Either Capture Jaffna or distory Colombo and its asssets.

Given the proximity an attack somewhere in the hills cannot be ruled out..Kandy city itself or the Dams in Central province are the prime targets.

We are not sure how prepared is the SLA for this...

jiffy said...

agreed tangara. the days when the ltte went after sinhalese civilians is almost gone. they're too clever for that. now on it's scaring away tourists and investors, and sadly that's not hard to do.

GoldenEagle said...

To defend our cities the best defence would be to have sniffing dogs stationed at every check point in every major city. Its low cost, time saving and effective solution. There is still no gadget invented that can beat a dog's nose in detecting things.

The suicide midget submarines are a problem. But since they only have a speed of 8 knots, I think they will be clumsy in a high speed naval battle, so I doubt they will be used in them. That does the Colombo harbour and other ports in the country are at risk and maybe even large slow moving ships. I say lets keep a FAC squadron permanently stationed in Colombo harbour.

This midget sub could also be used to carry VP out of SL in case of danger.

kalubanda said...

uys don't get panicked over this
its not that easy to do an under water attack.
i doubt that this is made of FRP cos i can almost see weld,near to the front of the hull(in one of the close up pictures i got).

they are not stealthy against sonar which uses sound waves(sound waves reflects more easily by large objects)

i hope the sonar security systems are
working in our commercial harbors and navy bases, they are not that expensive, even some fisherman can afford it.

highly unlikely that prabakaran can escape on one of these home made subs,coz they are battery powered so the time they can remain submerged is very short, at 8kns/h even 5 hours of submerged time(highly unlikely) will get it 40knts from the coast line.

DarkSniper said...

collisions especially in Wellawatte and Kotahena areas where they try to credit them into government account right after the eradication of LTTE. I'm pretty sure that no more toy jet attacks could be expected from terrosists. it's better be to alert about the links of ltte's with the terrorists groups who use chemical and Biological weapons...

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