2ND LEAD (Adds details, links)

LTTE releases photographs of air mission

[TamilNet, Monday, 26 March 2007, 02:15 GMT]
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have for the first time released photos of their Air-Tigers to media with Tamileelam Air Force (TAF) first major mission. While reputed military analysts speculated on the LTTE use of air-craft limited to self-destroy missions, Tigers have surprised them by using locally designed payload carrying mechanisms, and automatic ammunition discharge circuitry, and demonstrated capability to fly night missions.

Liberation Tigers credit the formation of the Tiger air-wing (Vaanpuligal) to Colonel Shankar alias Vythialingam Sornalingam, an old boy of Hartley College, Point Pedro. He was an aeronautical engineer with Air Canada, with an Engineering Degree in Aeronautics from Hindustan Engineering College in Tamil Nadu.

Shankar was the chief of the 'Air Tigers' and was responsible for developing the air wing from its infancy until his assassination in December 2001.



Tigers have not disclosed the type and number of light-wing air crafts in their possession.

However, Tigers have succeeded in using locally made fixtures attached to air-craft frame to allow automatic weapon discharge, under pilot control, of four gravity bombs.

The bombs appear to be 45-50 inch long and 10-12" diameter at the middle of the body, and fitted with a tail section with six fins to improve stability during its ballistic trajectory towards the target.

After initial acknowledgement by Liberation Tigers that they were involved in building an air-wing in November 1998, Tigers were ambiguous in their response in September 2006 when there was speculation that a Tiger air-craft fired rockets at the Palaly Airforce base.

Runway in Iranaimadu, inside Liberation Tigers controlled Vanni, which is clearly visible in Satellite images, was a contentious issue between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE during the period after the signing of CeaseFire Agreement in 2002.

Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) Kfirs ran bombing raids dropping bombs on Iranaimadu runway, but LTTE said the damages have been repaired and the runway is usable. However, it is not clear if the LTTE air-crafts that bombed the SLAF military base in Katunayake used the Iranaimade runway for takeoff and landing. LTTE reserved comment on this matter.


Photos: LTTE


Related Articles:
11.08.06   Tiger aircraft rockets Palaly base, curfew in Jaffna
30.05.05   Coercive Airpower in the Eelam Conflict- Taraki
28.11.98   Tiger Air Wing participates in celebrations - VoT
27.11.98   Tigers confirm Air wing


External Links:
IPCS: Tigers with Wings - Air Power of the LTTE
BBC: Row over Tamil Tigers' airstrip
ST: CBK's second tsunami, Runway at Iranaimadu
Rediff: Beware of LTTE 'air assets': Truce monitors
Hindu: "LTTE's air assets a threat to Sri Lanka"
SAAG: Article on LTTE air force

 

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