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 Post subject: LTTE air strike Thaladi and Colombo - update
 Post Posted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 12:08 am 
LTTE air strike Thaladi army camp in Mannar and Colombo

Wednesday, October 29, 2008
@ Sources: HT/Agencies / MOD


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The air wing of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) dropped bombs on a power station in Colombo, Kelanitissa, and Thaladi army camp in Mannara late on Tuesday, triggering panic in the night and an island-wide blackout.

Electricity was switched off across Colombo and anti-aircraft guns opened fire at about 11-30 pm after a rebel aircraft was spotted approaching the city. First, Sri Lankan navy warships docking off Colombo opened fire and launched rockets at it. Soon, anti-aircraft guns deployed around important buildings in the city targeted the aircraft, breaking the silence of the night with the staccato sound of fire. High-powered search lights focused on the sky were switched on. Sri Lankan air force (SLAF) jets scrambled to intercept the intruding plane.

But the LTTE aircraft, possibly a fixed-wing, Czech-built, Z-143, whizzed past the fire power and dropped two bombs on the Kelanitissa power station, a fortified installation within Colombo surrounded by high walls. One bomb exploded triggering a fire in the station and fire fighting tenders were at work till early on Wednesday. Power supply to the city was not hampered, officials said.

Less than 30 minutes earlier, a Sri Lanka army installation in the Thalladi area of the troubled northwestern district of Mannar had come under a similar air attack. A Tiger aircraft dropped two bombs on the base, the main artillery launch-pad for the army, about 300 km from Colombo.

Like in Colombo, at Thalladi too, the aircraft escaped in spite of retaliatory fire from the ground.

Military spokesperson, Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara, told HT that three soldiers suffered minor injuries in the attack. ``There was no damage to the buildings,'' Nanayakkara said.

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The Brigadier added that he was still awaiting final reports about the extent of damage to the power station. ``One bomb fell on a building and exploded, starting a fire. The second bomb did not explode,'' he said.

The pro-LTTE website, TamilNet, said SLAF bombers were searching for LTTE aircraft in Killinochchi till early Wednesday. ``Latest reports from Vanni (where the LTTE is said to be currently cornered) said SLAF aircraft were flying over the suburbs of Mullaiththeevu and Puthukkudiyiruppu with para lights focused on the ground from 1:30 am on Wednesday,'' it said.

In Colombo, the sound of gunfire woke up thousands of tourists and professionals staying in five-star hotels on the sea front. An Indian advertising professional staying at Galle Face Hotel said: ``I opened the sea-facing window and saw streaks of fire criss-crossing the sky from all sides. The sound of gunfire was echoing from all sides. The area on the land-side was totally dark,'' he told HT.

According to available information, the blasts have caused minor damages to the premises. Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) officials said that a cooler connected to the gas turbine power generator caught fire and was extinguished within minutes by the Colombo fire brigade who arrived at the site instantly. A CEB employee sustained minor injuries and was admitted to the General Hospital at Colombo.

Meanwhile, an Air Port aviation official said that, 2 passenger air craft were diverted to Chennai aerodrome until the situation was brought under control. A Cathay Pacific Airways flight (CX-703) from Bangkok to Colombo, as well as a Thai Airways flight (TG-307) from Bangkok to Colombo, had to divert to Chennai due to the closure of Colombo Airport.
After the end of the attack and resumption of normal airport operations the two diverted flights were called into Colombo and reached their destination with a delay of 3.5 hours each.

The Tamil Tigers last carried out an air and ground attack on a military camp in Vavuniya in September, killing 11 soldiers. Ten Tiger suicide commandos also died in the attack.

The tigers are believed to operate five Czech-built Zlin-143 aircraft smuggled onto the island in pieces and re-assembled. Satellite images have shown that they have more than one air strip inside areas they control.


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 Post subject: Two turbines damaged at Kelanitissa
 Post Posted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 12:12 am 
Two turbines damaged at Kelanitissa

Two turbines were damaged in the LTTE air raid at Kelanitissa power station. Power generation using the damaged turbines was suspended. However the Ceylon Electricity Board has confirmed that the damage will not affect the consumers.

An employee of the Kelanitissa power plant died this morning after he was admitted to the hospital following the LTTE air raid. He had died due to shock, a post mortem has revealed.

The victim has been identified as Ranjith Edward Wijesuirya (52) of Hanguranketha who worked as a turbine operator in the turbine unit of the power station.

A colleague of Mr.Wijesuriya said that the LTTE aircraft had dropped a bomb on a gas turbine causing a fire. Mr.Wijesuriya and a few of his colleagues who were the night shift had approached the scene of the fire when he had collapsed and was rushed to hospital. Later he was pronounced dead.

The military confirmed that three bombs had been dropped by "LTTE aircraft over a military camp" while "two bombs" hit the state-run power station, damaging some turbines. The authorities blacked out the capital during the raid and the night sky lit up with anti-aircraft fire. The attack marked the first time rebel planes had bombed the capital in more than a year.

The ministry described the air raids as an "abortive" operation that had failed to impact the intended targets.

"The entire power plant remains intact and functions as usual although the power supply was disconnected as a precautionary measure during the time of the abortive aerial attack," the ministry said.

Officials from the state-run Ceylon Electricity Board said two turbines had caught fire but the Colombo fire brigade had brought the blaze under control.

Following the strikes, air force fighter jets flew search missions over the rebel-controlled areas of Kilinochchi, Viswamadu and Iranamadu, the military said.


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 Post subject: Interceptors’ missile ‘lock on’ failure jolts SLAF
 Post Posted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 3:14 am 
Interceptors’ missile ‘lock on’ failure jolts SLAF
Severe damage to the power plants, may cause power cuts

Chinese F7s launched from Katunayake air base had failed to zero-in-on the enemy aircraft. "Their (F7s) missile systems failed to ‘lock on with the enemy aircraft," the source said. The initial detection had been made north-east of Mannar at 10.18 p.m. by 2D radar installed by the Government of India at the SLAF base at Vavuniya. Both the Indian radar and a Chinese 3D radar station located in the Western Province had detected the enemy aircraft but interceptors failed to carry out a successful missile strike. 2D radar provides direction and the distance of a target whereas the Chinese radar provides even the altitude of a target

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@ Source: The Island/ Hindu /Thursday, 30 October 2008

Defence analysts are surprised as to how the LTTE aircraft managed to penetrate Colombo’s airspace and managed to sneak back without being intercepted.

“The aircraft would have travelled at least 600 km both ways and remained in the air space for at least 80 minutes. It is a mystery as to how and why the military failed to bring it down. It is a major security lapse at several levels,” a defence analyst told.

Tuesday’s failure to shoot down a single LTTE aircraft despite timely detection by radar has jolted the SLAF into investigating its limitations amidst evidence that the enemy has acquired a capability to neutralise the threat of a heat seeking missile attack.

An authoritative source said that Chinese F7s launched from Katunayake air base had failed to zero-in-on the enemy aircraft. "Their (F7s) missile systems failed to ‘lock on with the enemy aircraft," the source said. This would necessitate an overall review of the SLAF’s strategy, the source said. The military asserted that the LTTE could try to exploit the situation.

The official said he suspected that the LTTE aircraft had been coated with some kind of paint to minimise its heat emission.

The initial detection had been made north-east of Mannar at 10.18 p.m. by 2D radar installed by the Government of India at the SLAF base at Vavuniya.

Thaladdi had come under attack within minutes after the detection, the source said.

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Both the Indian radar and a Chinese 3D radar station located in the Western Province had detected the enemy aircraft but interceptors failed to carry out a successful missile strike. 2D radar provides direction and the distance of a target whereas the Chinese radar provides even the altitude of a target.

The SLAF said that after dropping two bombs on Thaladdi base, the aircraft had veered westwards towards the sea and flew southwards before moving back towards land at a point near estuary of the Kelani River. The SLAF said that the aircraft had taken almost the same route back to its base in the Vanni. Under anti-aircraft fire, the LTTE plane had dropped two bombs over the Kelanitissa power facility.

Although Power Minister John Seneviratne and his Deputy Mahindananda Aluthgamage played down the issue, The damage caused to two power stations, combined cycle power plant and diesel powered Fiat GT 7 installed within the Kelanitissa complex would cause a severe deficit in the country’s electricity demand.

GT 7 had been severely damaged in the blast. After inspecting the damaged facility, Seneviratne said that it would take about six months restore GT 7. Kelanitssa workers told that both stations had been switched off pending investigations. They said that the GT 7 generated 110 mega watts while the combined cycle power plant generated 165 mega watts. Altogether, they generated 275 mega watts out of 530 mega watts produced by Kelanitissa facility.

Workers said that severe damage caused to the combined cycle power plant would deny the country the capacity to generate 55 mega watts almost free of charge. Of this particular plant, 110 mega watts were generated by using naphtha and 55 mega watts produced as a byproduct.

A senior engineer of the Ceylon Electricity Board told yesterday that it would take more than a month to restore the plant. He said it was a huge loss of energy as the damaged system did not use fuel.

He said that the stream plant generated 55 MW. "Now we have to generate the 55 MW from another plant, which means there is a huge cost in rupee terms. If not, we would have to experience blackouts during the peak hours."


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