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Navy achieves superior firepower and manoeuvrability with in-house technology

NAVY: The LTTE has always failed in their sea battles with the Navy. Miscalculating of the capabilities of the Sri Lanka Navy has always been a major contributing factor for their failures.

The recent events that unfolded in the territorial waters of Sri Lanka bear testimony that Sea Tigers cannot face any sea battles with the Navy if not for their suicide boat squadron.

The attack on unarmed sailors at Digamapotana in Habarana was another indication that they desperately needed to inflict heavy damage to the Navy as they failed to confront with the Navy in sea battles.

Having failed to confront the Navy the LTTE used the tactic of taking cover of the fishing boats for their operations against the Navy.

The Sea Tigers on November 30 made yet another attempt to launch a sandwich type attack on the Navy Surveillance Unit located at Baththalangunduwa to monitor sea movements from Gulf of Mannar region towards Colombo.

On November 30 around 3 p.m. more than 20 LTTE boats attempted to reach the Navy Surveillance Unit at Baththalangunduwa mingling with the fishing boats in Crocodile Bay in Kalpitiya area.

As Inshore Patrol Craft (IPC) P132, P131 and P171 at Baththalangunduwa engaged the flotilla of Tiger boats reaching towards them from Kalpitiya side another flotilla of LTTE boats from Kuthiramalai point directed fire at the IPCs at Baththalangunduwa sandwiching the IPCs from two sides.

As fighting went on, five IPCs including P133, P127 and P134 from the Kalpitiya Naval Base reached Baththalangunduwa area for the assistance of the Naval boats fighting the flotilla of Tiger boats from two directions.

The Sea Tiger engaged in this attack were confident that they can bear the brunt of the Navy retaliatory fire as they were aware of the range of the guns fitted in those IPCs.

But, the day turned out to be a bad one for the Tiger boats as they had to face unexpected fire power from the Navy boats as they reached closer to the IPCs in Baththalangunduwa.

The Tiger boats also came under the same type of attack from the Navy boats reaching towards Baththalangunduwa from Kalpitiya Naval base.

The Naval troops through the intercepted radio transmissions heard the voices of the LTTE cadres crying for assistance as they could not bear the brunt of the Navy attack and also the air attacks directed towards their boats. They finally withdrew towards Kuthiramalai point.

The Navy with the assistance extended by the Air Force could successfully repulse the LTTE Sea Tiger attack on November 30 as they could engage the Sea Tiger boats with higher calibre long range weapons fitted to the IPCs which was not expected by the LTTE.

The LTTE experienced heavy losses with three of their boats becoming disabled compelling the LTTE to forcibly take few of the fishing boats from the innocent fishermen.

If not for this Navy manufactured Inshore Patrol Crafts fitted with heavy calibre guns the LTTE could have destroyed many of the Navy boats before air support was called for their assistance.

Apart from the IPCs fitted with heavy calibre guns the Navy also used arrow boats manufactured by the Navy for the use of the Special Boat Units.

It was a clear indication that the Navy is now heading for new dimensions when increasing its capabilities without depending on supplies from foreign nations and also from the local market.


SLN made Inshore Patrol Craft fitted with heavy calibre weapon

The Research and Development project at the Sri Lanka Navy during the past one year developed the technology to produce IPCs at local workshops saving millions of rupees in foreign exchange that has to be spent for the purchase of IPCs from the international and local market.

The Navy has proved that they can produce the IPCs with the same international standards at Rs.11 million instead of spending Rs. 28 million to purchase IPC from the international market.

The Navy has changed the capacity of these IPCs enabling the installation of heavy calibre guns using expertise at the Navy.

The Navy during the past one year has broadened their mission to produce equipment using locally available resources saving millions of foreign exchange to the country.

The manufacture of Arrow Boats for the usage of the Special Boat Units was also another successful invention by the Research and Development Unit of the Navy.

The aim of manufacturing those arrow boats was to facilitate the close inshore manuring operations by the Special Boat Units of the Navy and to counter cluster attacks by the LTTE using flotilla of boats.


Arrow boats fitted with Outboard Motors

The Navy has shown the capability of manufacturing a 18 feet long arrow boat fitted with 200 Horsepower outboard motors at Rs.1.7 million against Rs.2 million price in the international market per one unit.

The Navy has been able to manufacture nearly 20 such arrow boats and deploy them for Naval operation in the North and East during the past few months.

In addition to strengthening the fleet of boats the Navy also could save nearly Rs.11.5 million due to its capability to produce a Long Range Surveillance Camera System priced Rs.20 million at the international market at a cost of Rs.10.13 million with the assistance of local experts.

The Research and Development Projects of the Navy also include the manufacturing of Directional Antennas to extend the VHF communication range in the East by sixty per cent to remove the existing VHF communication gap.

The Sri Lanka Navy which is due to celebrate its 56th anniversary tomorrow (December 9) could achieve these successes this year while fulfilling their obligation to the nation by protecting the territorial waters of the country.

The intensified surveillance by the Navy has brought effective results in their bid to prevent arms smuggling to the country by the LTTE. The Navy has apprehended and destroyed 10 LTTE boats including a LTTE arms smuggling vessel destroyed in the sea off Kalmunai.

The detection of a Tiger trawler in the Gulf of Mannar region has left the LTTE in a desperate situation as they have been severely hit by the Navy action due to severe shortage of ammunition for the fighting cadres.

The battle to save the troops carrying vessel Pearl Cruiser II on May 11, 2006 in the sea off Point Pedro and the Jet Liner on August 1 can be considered the most outstanding achievements by the Navy.

Apart from the sea battles the Navy also achieved successes in ground battles in August. The Navy played a key role in keeping the Muttur jetty under Security Forces control when LTTE launched a lightning attack to Muttur and adjoining Army detachments on August 2.

The major role played by the Navy was also highlighted in the aftermath of the closure of the A-9 road at Muhamalai following the eruption of fighting between the Security Forces and the LTTE on August 11.

The role played by the Navy to keep the lifeline between the mainland and the Jaffna peninsula to keep the Jaffna people out of starvation was the biggest humanitarian task undertaken by the Navy.

The Naval troops carried out this humanitarian task of providing security for the ships transporting essential foods to the Jaffna peninsula and also for the ships transporting Security Forces personnel and civilians to and from the Jaffna peninsula was hailed by many quarters in society.

The highest regard for the humanitarian task came from a person none other than the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission on May 12, 2006 after the LTTE attempt to attack Pear Cruiser II in the sea off Point Pedro.

The Deputy Head of Naval Monitoring Team in Jaffna Lars Bleymann in a letter written to Northern Naval Commander Rear Admiral Upali Ranaweera offered his gratitude to the Sri Lanka Navy in general and to Lt. Walgampaya OIC of the P421 and his crew for their exemplary behaviour during the LTTE attack on the Pearl Cruiser II and for saving his life.

"I cannot describe in words how thankful I am to him. His calm and collected behaviour during this operation is a credit Sri Lanka Navy. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. He never wavered, never lost his coolness, and never lost his professionalism. Not one single second during the attack did I have any doubts about his abilities. His crew carried out his orders and were never in doubt. They too are credit to Sri Lanka Navy", Lars Bleymann who was on board the Dvora gun boat wrote in his letter.

"With people like that serving you, you can be rest assured that SLN is in very good state," Bleymann in his remarks added.

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Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
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