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Sri Lanka Navy’s RABS/SBS Concept: An Operational and Tactical Edge over Sea Tigers - Video - Page 2

Article Index
Sri Lanka Navy’s RABS/SBS Concept: An Operational and Tactical Edge over Sea Tigers - Video
Yaer 2006 and Beyond
Tactical and Operational Edge
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Year 2006 and Beyond

Year 2006 can be termed as the most important year for the Sri Lanka Navy in many ways. Its change of Command which took place in the later part of year 2005 and subsequent projected plans and operational directives issued from the top were quite evident and the navy as a whole stepped towards making their minds adjusted to a change that is going to place not only the navy in the books of history but also the country as a whole in the world march against eradicating terrorism.

Number of Sea Tiger encounters with the navy during year 2006 is around 21. This does not include the tiger activities on the ground which was primarily aimed at disturbing naval ground convoy movements. The naval top brass took notice of these developments and went onto map a plan which aimed at completely destroying LTTE maritime capabilities both in Sri Lanka and overseas. During the 21 odd confrontations the naval fleet units along with the operational elements made number of discoveries and gathered immense intelligence on sea tiger activities. Following these, the navy decided if they are to destroy sea tiger capabilities effectively, they have to counter LTTE’s deep sea movements, small boat movements and sea tiger fighting elements.

The capture of quite a number of LTTE multi day fishing trawlers, destruction of some of them and obviously the destruction of LTTE rogue ships both in year 2006 and 2007 took the navy to an unprecedented level among the other navies in the world. Much have written about these victories and I will not spend time on the tactics the Navy used in those battles but will next look into how the navy went onto sinking the LTTE fighting element i.e. the sea tiger attack fleet with total surprise.

Concept of RABS/SBS


 The concept of RABS(Rapid Action Boat Squadron)/SBS(Special Boat Squadron) was not introduced overnight. Along with the destruction of LTTE’s bigger arms transporting ships, navy understood the necessity of destroying LTTE fighting elements which comprises of suicide boats, fighting craft of various sizes and other underwater tactics quite often utilized by the sea tigers. Experience gathered through number of close quarter confrontations, the navy understood that if the LTTE fighting elements are to be countered effectively, the navy required acquiring better platforms suited to our own fighting environment.

The maritime fighting environment which the navy face today is unique and the conditions required to sustain confrontations arising from it also required to be unique in all aspect. Even though there are number of efficient platforms available for deep sea operations in the open market it is extremely difficult to find ready made platforms to face what the Sri Lankan navy has been encountering for the past many years. In this backdrop, the requirement to develop a unique platform that could attack Sea Tiger units with much accuracy, lethality and surprise was required.

Considering these factors and many other aspects the navy decided to launch its own boat constructing mechanism to suit its requirements at home rather than waiting till some one do the needful for them. The special boat construction project which started in year 2006 mainly concentrated in building Inshore Patrol Craft followed by the most important small speed attack boats named as the “ARROW” boat. With in a very short time period navy was able to launch its 100th boat recently.

The concept of RABS came as an innovation following the two year long study of cautious analysis of confrontations that took place since year 2006. Naval hierarchy understood that if the LTTE fleet units are to be effectively countered, they need to introduce a combination of already available SBS with the newly introduced RABS. Navy by then have understood those platforms they have been using for the last many years do need to be either incorporated with this concept or they are required operate in isolation achieving total surprise. These elite units of the present navy have proved that they are the best combination that the navy can find to effectively face the seaborne tiger threat.


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