More on the Tamil Tigers bombing raid

NOTE: This is a follow up to Flying Tigers here.  Information on the Canadian connection to the LTTE bombing raid appears at bottom of post.

An outfit billing itself as the South Asia Analysis Group has posted an analysis of the LTTE air strike and notes some interesting information:

3. The TAF’s air strike was well-planned and equally well-executed. It was a night operation taking advantage of the weak capability of the SLAF for night operations. It was a precision attack, which carefully avoided causing any casualty or damage in the international airport, which could have roused international ire. There were no civilian casualties–targeted or collateral.  As a result, it would not be possible to characterise the attack as an act of terrorism. It was pure and simple a conventional air strike. The bombs targeted the hangar or hangars at the base inside which the aircraft of the SLAF are normally parked at night. Three SLAF personnel were killed and about 20 injured. It is not yet known whether they were the maintenance people or whether any of them were pilots. Maintenance casualties can be easily replaced, but not pilot casualties.

4. Some worrisome questions arise. Even professional pilots of a State Air Force need regular flying practice. You can’t just assemble or take out an aircraft from a hide-out and fly out on a bombing mission. Where were the TAF pilots doing their flying practice? How come the Air Force intelligence set-ups of Sri Lanka as well as India missed detecting these training flights of the TAF? One needs fuel for the aircraft. From the way the LTTE has been warning of more air attacks, it seems to have an adequate reserve of fuel. Where from it got the fuel? Hopefully, not from India. Since April last year, when the Government of President Mahinda Rajapakse started using the SLAF, the latter has been claiming that it had repeatedly bombed the air strip of the TAF. When an air strip is bombed, it takes time to repair it. How did the LTTE manage to repair it without any problem? Or, does it have another air strip, which has not come to the notice of the Sri Lankan intelligence?

[emphasis mine]

The rest of it is largely forgettable stuff and seems to be at pains to point out that this was an attack on military installations and personnel, thus not a terrorist attack per se.

At some point the LTTE must have conducted training flights for its pilots and, presumably, ground attack training.  They could get the basics of powered flight from any civil aviation school, but those places don’t typically cover the ground attack stuff like computing roll-in point, aim off point, roll-out point, release point and so on.  For that the pilots have to accrue simulator or actual flight hours, and you can assume that the LTTE doesn’t have high-fidelity full-motion flight simulators.  So somewhere out there in LTTE-controlled territory is a makeshift airfield and bombing range.  That shouldn’t be too hard to find.

UPDATE 271806Z MAR 2007: Eagle-eyed Darcey of Dust my Broom spots media attention around a Canadian connection to the Air Tiger bombing raid:

TORONTO – A former airline employee from Montreal is being described as the man behind a deadly attack Monday in which a plane flown by Tamil Tigers rebels bombed Sri Lanka’s military airport…

Better known as “Sorni,” the aeronautical engineer left his job at Air Canada in the early 1980s and returned to Sri Lanka, according to a Toronto source familiar with his activities. Upon his return he joined the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and began building a rebel air force but he was killed in 2001 when a mine exploded beneath his vehicle…

The Air Tigers program continued despite his death, carried on partly by those he had trained, the source said…

— Stewart Bell, “Former Montrealer tied to Tamil Tiger’s first air attack“.  CanWest News Service /  National Post, 27 March 2007.

Egad.

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2 Responses
  1. Darcey says:

    “They could get the basics of powered flight from any civil aviation school”
    Apparently a former Air Canada employee helped get them started.

  2. Chris Taylor says:

    And remember folks like Jim Karygiannis, Allan Rock, Paul Martin and Maria Minna had no problem appearing at events hosted by LTTE front organisations. Nice.