Sri Lanka: The War In The Air


April 30, 2007: The LTTE air force is believed to be 2-5 single engine commercial aircraft that were smuggled in piece by piece and assembled at jungle bases. These aircraft can operate from a straight bit of road or flat ground and don't need much more maintenance support than a well equipped auto service station can provide. Thus the aircraft are hard to find, but easy to destroy once located. The LTTE aircraft operate at night, to minimize exposure to ground fire. That means that their aircraft are at risk crashing while landing at night. The LTTE aircraft are not a serious threat to government forces. These air attacks are more propaganda than anything else. However, the Sri Lankan air force has no night air-to-air capability, and the LTTE aircraft can fly low enough to avoid radar.

The LTTE forces continue to retreat, and by the end of the year, will have nowhere else to retreat to.

April 29, 2007: The LTTE air force struck again, with four bombs dropped in an attempt to ignite a petroleum storage facility near the capital. The night attack missed the target and failed. The attack was just before dawn, apparently to enable the single engine aircraft to land at first light.

April 28, 2007: The government is not interested in negotiating with the LTTE anymore. This comes after discovery of a video tape of the LTTE leader telling his senior officials, shortly after the 2002 ceasefire was signed, that the ceasefire was for getting ready for the next round of fighting, not working out a peace deal.

April 23, 2007: The air force has been using UAVs for reconnaissance and monitoring LTTE operations.

April 26, 2007: The main airport outside the capital was closed because LTTE aircraft were thought to be approaching.

April 25, 2007: The leading LTTE fundraiser in the United States has been arrested in New York City. LTTE fund raising operations overseas are being dismantled, which is greatly reducing the amount of cash the LTTE has for military operations. Meanwhile, in northern Sri Lanka, a battle left 21 LTTE gunmen dead as the army attacked rebel fortifications. A dozen soldiers were killed and 33 wounded.

April 24, 2007: The "LTTE Air Force" struck again, dropping eight small bombs out of two single engine commercial aircraft. Six soldiers were killed when some of the bombs landed in an army base in the north.


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