Thursday, May 15, 2008

Depth charges in the Inner Harbour again?

Belgian Para Commando frogman

The Eastern Naval Command is seriously considering the reintroduction of defensive measures in Trincomalee Harbour area abandoned after the Cease-Fire Agreement in 2002. This includes depth-charges dropped randomly inside the Trincomalee Inner-Harbour throughout the day and night.

The measures come after the May 10th sinking of A-520 logistics and supplies vessel in the Trincomalee Inner Harbour area. The ship is yet to be salvaged after a powerful explosion. Senior officers told DefenceWire that a lack of debris seems to indicate the attack may have been launched by a team of frogmen/women. However, a human torpedo attack is not completely ruled out. We are aware of a transferring of Fiber Reinforced Plastic (FRP) technology from North Korea to the LTTE many years before (LTTE Midget Submarines).

Effective defenses against both modus operandi is crucial considering that Pearl Cruise II often docks in the same harbour. In 2006, Sea Tigers made an abortive bid to destroy the vessel in open seas. On a previous suicide boat attack, the Tigers destroyed one of two Australian-built troop transport Catamarans inside the Inner Harbour.

MV Pearl Cruise II

Immediately after the May 10th attack, the Navy imposed an unofficial ban on fishing vessels near the harbour mouth. Fishermen from nearby fishing villages, particularly in Kinniya and Mutur have been asked to register themselves for security reasons. Currently, under the official restrictions imposed after the 10th, fishing is allowed outside of the inner harbour area from 2am to 6pm (the latest attack took place at 2.15am).

A Closed Circuit Re-breather (CCR). Did the Tigers receive them in arms shipments in February and March this year?

The depth-charges are a deterrence against similar attacks in future, but not a complete solution to the problem. The Navy also limited underwater surveillance and motion-detection systems at its disposal. These have not been able to prevent the May 10th attack. The Navy may have to deploy its own Combat Divers from the Special Boat Squadron in future. This, however, will undoubtedly endanger the lives of valuable men.

The reality is that no complete solution is available against frogmen. Although the Navy has new marine radars, it is handicapped in the area of underwater surveillance. The Sea Tigers have perfected the art of maintaining radio silence and hardly ever give-out any clues over their communications.

Each attack team has the ability to operate independently thanks to accurate intelligence, training and mission-briefing. Captured LTTE frogmen have confessed of being trained overseas. These factors make, specially the Underwater Demolition (UDT) and Suicide Teams extremely difficult to detect.

However, prior to the cease-fire, depth-charges were used regularly in the Inner Harbour area as an effective deterrence. The charges were used after a gunboat was destroyed by a female suicide-bomber in 1995. The charges can send a diver into shock or even kill the diver, but only if it detonates closer to him/her.

The Navy therefore used fast boats to drop depth-charges every few minutes at various points of the Inner-Harbour. A large number of marine creatures were killed and washed ashore during the process while shaking Naval barracks and officer quarters around the Inner Harbour with each explosion.

Defences Against Midget Subs, Frogmen and Amphibious Assaults

The LTTE's North Korean Connection


TheTruth said...

depth charges?...can't they just use pulsed sonar? blow out the ear drums of any divers????...and has the advantage of being effective in a large area...

Strategic Thinking said...

so what sort of frequency do these need to be dropped... isnt this a non-viable solution with regards to timing and cost?

Strategic Thinking said...

defencewire... saw a post on that a couple of senior ltte cardres have been killed...."Vaikunthan and Gadaffi".. do you have any info on this?

sldf said...

All major ports in the world use underwater diver surveillance sonar systems (Integrated Anti-swimmer) systems that have either 90° or 180° sector coverage. These systems can track multiple targets at the same and easily classify them as fish, divers, sub vehicle or unknown. Has give the user target data such as bearing, range (targets up to 700m-1000m), course, depth, speed of the target. Colombo, Trinco and KK Harbor need these systems. Especially Colombo and Trinco. In my opinion these systems are most suitable for these threats.

kaatikuddupaan said...

gaddaffi is a very cruel Colonel. He is in charge of Imran Pandian regiment.

He used to be in charge of LTTE prisons and torture chambers but he put a man in an underground cell for 7 years with no light so the man lost his sight. Thereafter he was transferred to being head of the fightin regiment.

His current name is √Ąthawan

Defencewire said...


Yes Gadaffi was killed by 3 Commando LRRP in Vavuniya last week. His cab was hit with a Claymore. 3CDO is separate from 3SF. It started in thoppigala under Major Uditha Bandara of the thoppigala fame. Now he is Colonel and head of 3CDO. 3SF and MI worked hard to bring them upto standard. This is their first major kill.

Defencewire said...


You amaze us with how much you know! Gadaffi was also attached to the Sea Tigers.

Sun Tzu's disciple said...

1. " We are aware of a transferring of Fiber Reinforced Plastic (FRP) technology from North Korea to the LTTE many years before (LTTE Midget Submarines)."

Can you substantiate your statement?

2.Depth charges:
To be useful it has to be used constantly and in high numbers. It can however lull the users into complacency.

3." Senior officers told DefenceWire that a lack of debris seems to indicate the attack may have been launched by a team of frogmen/women"
If the ship sank after blast it is a premature statement as the debris could be buried under wreck.It is designed more for propaganda/morale--to imply no submersibles with ltte and to implicate suicide divers.It could have been simlply a limpet mine and not necessarily suicide--unless detected during the act, Tigers will never waste a painfully trained suicide frogman if he has a good chance of getting away.Hence I take the official statement with a pinch of salt.

sldf said...

Defencewire, according to lanka academic "Lt. Col" Gadaffi, an experienced sea-tiger leader and "Lt. Col" Vaikunthan, who at one point led the LTTE’s artillery division, was killed by SLAF strikes. Their funeral services were held in Mullaitivu and Mulliyawalli.

Kill was carried out by 3 Commando LRRP or SLAF. Has MI confirmed? Either way it is a success and nice to see Commando units in action :)

hemantha said...

What is the situation on the Mannar front?
Is the LTTE retreating?

It looks like the troops are moving really fast.

"Sri Lanka Army soldiers yesterday (May 14) found five bodies of female LTTE cadres along with 5 T-56 rifles, after hours long clashes occurred in the Periyamadhu area on the Vavuniya warfront."
Is the Periyamadhu stated above is the one towards the west of Palampiddi? If so the Vavunia front must be moving towards Wedithalathivu in a rapid phase. Is this a columnar movement? How vulnerable for LTTE counter attacks?

Mannar map(to enlarge click on the map).

"According to the defence sources on the Mannar battlefront, the soldiers advanced about 2.5 km northwards from Adampan town and captured the terror strong point around 11.45 am after a heavy gun battle."

According to the above statement the Army should be closer to Pappamodai. So one front is moving towards Wedithalathivu from the west and another from the south (Encirclement?).

If 61 division is going to join the Welioya front wouldn't the Vavuniya and Mannar fronts would be too thinly spread?

And SLAF has made a night attack again. That's good. They should continue such attacks.

(Too many questions. I apologize. I think the better option would be a new update without answering my questions separately.)

mboi said...

lol theres no way that belgian para commando is going to swim or even wade through water wearing all that. i think thats just a photo to show off.

Unknown said...

There must be a better way than this, I feel bad for all the marine life that will be killed needlesly. After all this is like the horrible practice of dynamite fishing. I see others have posted various solutions, what are the cost factors to these?

Surely they cannot be that much for simple sonnar based detection etc, than the cost of fuel (boats), explosives etc to carry out random depth charge attacks indefinitely?

Jambudipa said...

There is some scope here to be a bit more 'smart' than dropping depth charges once in a while.

Why not this?

Install underwater microphones at all strategic corners of the harbor to an amplifier and then connect it to a PA (Public Adress) system near the sentry points. Any suspicious noise then discharge the explosives.

The level of apathy and un-inventiveness of the defence forces in this country is unbelievable!!!

Moshe Dyan said...


thanks for the map; good one.

BTW the air strike is on the boarder of a "night-time raid" as it was carried out at 7:30 pm; but well done SLAF. this shows the effectiveness of night time raids.

timely topic on frogmen DW; thanks.

Jambudipa said...

Hows about getting the nature to work for the navy? Make the inner harbor, a shark pool? Seals can be trained like dogs to raise alerts etc.

Sam Perera said...


Is defenceNet doing alright?

Bhairav said...

[Is defenceNet doing alright?]

Defencenet is having menstrual problems.

Jambudipa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jambudipa said...

Make the entire inner harbor into a fish pool. When fish is disturbed, the motion detection will raise an alarm even if Closed Circuit Re-breather is worn by frogmen.

Jambudipa said...

What about a submerged sentry box/cubicle made out of a reinforced glass windows?

Moshe Dyan said...

bairav said,
"[Is defenceNet doing alright?]

Defencenet is having menstrual problems."

no wonder these are toilet cleaners!

CASC said...

Got these pictures from a friend. Not sure when or where taken. I assume it is on the Mannar front. Some pictures show a tank recovery vehicle, a grenade launcher, de-mining, etc.

Photos of Sri Lanka Army in Action

Unknown said...

please forgive the amateurish view on this... But if a cheap fishfinder can penetrate hundreds of feet of water. create a picture of the bottom structures, find and track fish with most of the newer ones being able to ID fish also...there has to be some sonar based system that's solely designed deal with intruding divers...and i don't think it's that pricey either since the technology is quite old and being heavily used for non-military activities...

close circuit re-breather will only allow them to use oxygen more efficiently and keep the bubbles out... nothing can keep them from being invisible to a sonar...
even multiple sets of fishfinder sets shooting wide angle beam patterns should be able to cover significant areas if hooked upto a patrol boat... a small IPC or even a dingy is enough

Unknown said...

visibility might be a big issue there... especially in deeper waters penetration of light is only upto a certain depth...
rainy season also tends to wash in silt and stuff and give good cover to intruding frogmen...

Unknown said...

great pics casc
thanks for sharing :)
are those regulars??? quite heavy armament...can see multiple LMG's within the same unit

RomeoAlphaFoxtrot said...

Hi DefenceWire,

Got Couple of points for you.

1. The US Navy trains dolphins to detect enemy divers and to detect even attack them. If you Google you can find more info on them (this is one link I found (

Why not, we too use this ? In the long term it is a good idea, dont we have dolphins in sri lanka ? Ofcourse they should know how to identify an enemy diver from a friendly one, but thats something worth venturing on.

2. This is the most important thing , what about Colombo Harbour ? I'm sure you cant spell out the measures taken to prevent you know who from fishing it out from here. But I HOPE that SLN has taken effective measures against divers in Colombo harbour. It wud be a economical disaster if it happens.

Remember divers caught/found in the west coast (Negombo area) when they tried to enter Colombo harbour, who knows whats in store, once again we better be prepared.

Moshe Dyan said...

Yes, the Colombo habour, the Galle/Trinco harbours are DEFINITE TARGETS. It is only a MATTER OF TIME until tigers attack. It is as certain as the sun and the moon. A complete fishing/movement ban in the surrounding areas must be imposed NOW.

Suicide bombers, frogmen, TAF, locally manufactured mortars, etc., etc. WHAT’S NEXT?
Guys, we are just playing by their rules. Every year they come up with some new shitt and we invest millions of dollars to counter that. They need only a few thousand rupees. In the case of TAFs a few thousand dollars. They get air borne only once in a blue moon but we are wasting money/time everyday to counter them.

Someone said the biggest weapon of terrorists is terror. LTTE is using it with EXTREME SUCCESS.

There is only one answer.

Finish off the tigers ASAP. Think like fishermen. If LTTE were fish and the SLDFs were fishermen, what would they do? They will ACTIVELY SEEK large tiger groups and kill them; when large groups die, they will seek smaller ones.

While sustaining the battles along the FDLs, start a MASSIVE VIGOROUS thrust to mulaitivu with a lot of fire power, navel power and airpower from the safest route. This will invite the enemy for a fight ‘cos the loss of mulaitivu is HUGE. Concentrate and kill the MAX, plunder tiger assets, set forests on fire as required and take mulaitivu.

Out of the 4 battlefronts, the welioya front is most feared by the tigers. Because it can extend to mulaitivu – the most secret tiger hide out. That is why,
1. they used TAF to bomb welioya
2. created a BIG noise when the STF was deployed in welioya
3. attacked SLN boats off nayuru lagoon many times

This will force the remaining LTTE cadres to disperse and regroup elsewhere, shift their most secret installations elsewhere or do without them. Plunder their remaining positions immediately thereafter.

Unknown said...

bomb has gone off in fort

lion said...

The US navy have been using trained dolphins for years.They are very effective in the detection of enemy frogmen.

They use carbon monoxide gas injectors that are used to stab the frogman causing lethal air emboli.

lion said...

Related to the killing of Gaddafi.
Why do we not blow the shit out of the subsequent funerals attended by the LTTE big wigs like Soosai?

Why have we not bombed the shit out of their funeral services?The gloves have come off right?

Unknown said...

i don't think SLDF and SLAF will ever go low to attack funerals...
if im not wrong during TC funeral some jets were circling the area but didn't attack...
I think the it was a huge morale damper for the ltte to see our birds up in the sky...
in my personal view... we shouldn't attack funerals... that's the sorta shit ltte would do

kaatikuddupaan said...

If SLAF really wanted to have a big score then hitting a funeral is best or even maybe putting a motorcylce bomb outside it while funeral is taking place.

There is almost no security measures during funerals apart from general clearing for buried IED by some conscripts.

Lots of LTTE bigshots go to funeral, perhaps even the drone can look at where they leader's jeeps heads to and then bomb the base.


lion said...

The LTTE would have no qualms doing the same if given the opportunity.

I will never forget or forgive how they slaughtered 700 unarmed policemen like cattle in the jungles after surrendering.

Bombing the shit out of an LTTE funeral with big wigs is a legitimate target.We are just making sure whoever is in the casket is really truly dead and also helping them with their cremation ceremony...LOL

If it is ever done it has to be done in a big way , cluster bomb or some other heavy duty ordinance.Just leave a big crater.
And when they come to clear the dead and the injured bomb it again!
We can only do it once so do it big.

Psychologically not being able to mourn their dead in peace will hurt them.While we are at it bomb the shit out of their pristine cemetries full of "martyrs".

Let them not have the opportunity to glorify their dead as some symbol of their sacrifices.

The LTTE has no compulsion to bomb anyone ,anywhere regardless if there are woman or children around.

Our motto should be appended to ".. let them die for their land and in death we shall still haunt you.."

Red_Alert said...

wikipedia has a whole range of anti frogmen precautions such as the sonar detection systems as well as the dolphins ( although animal rights is an issue there). Personally prefer sonar detection and a shockwave emitter at strategic points similar to the Underwater POrt Security System used by the US coast guard.

COST is probably the sticking point.. but it might be worth it, considering the cost of random dropping of depth charges..
and such a system is better for the marine life in trinco/colombo

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...


Are you crazy man? NO, NO, NO, NO and NO again!

Gloves can NEVER come off. We cannot afford to use methods employed by terrorists, it's their methods that makes them terrorists and if we use them then we'll be no different.

Gloves came off back in 83 and look what happened!

We have to do way better than that. Killing couple of hundred innocent civilians to get a couple of LTTE big-shots can never be justified. Our principle should be to protect civilians, they are not "expendable". We need to get that straight in our heads if we are to make any progress!

hana said...

there few countries in the world that manifest mission ready combat swimmer capabilities. However the concerns are real should a rouge swimmer transit over to the dark side.Almost all emplaced anti swimmer measures can be defeated with effective swimmer skills and mission plans. The water has a unique way of affording total deniability. let us hope no formers of the kampsswimmers, comandoUbare and or incursori mission plan with bad bearing/ legs

hana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
hana said...

In my Humble opinion, the key claims of under water surviellance units are indeed, inflated.
These submerged sniffers have proven to useless in localizing and acquiring swimmers with effective skills and mission plans. All too often false readings/alarms fustrate it's human monitors. IMHO the many ports employ such units are simply ...dupped as per manufacters claims.

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