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Sri Lanka Navy’s RABS/SBS Concept: An Operational and Tactical Edge over Sea Tigers - Video - Page 3

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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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Tactical and Operational Edge


Naval authorities after analyzing the importance of combining these two units took steps to deploy them in strategically important places. The ability to move these units discretely from one place to the other along with its stealth nature give little or no chance for the sea tigers to monitor sudden movement of these elements from one theatre to the other. To achieve surprise during an attack, this is important as the enemy is kept wondering about the possible launching pads of the RABS/SBS units.

The design if the ARROW boat itself is unique in nature. One looking at the boat carefully will see that it is capable of taking rough seas and have the capability of continuing fire power accurately. The credit should go to the unique design of the boat and to the navy’s engineers who put their maximum effort in making it the platform for the present scenario. The area cross section (viewed from front-rear axis) of the ARROW boat compared to the Fast Attack Craft is very less.

In addition to the significant design, this boat has provided plenty of space to place important weapons in crucial places of the boat without compromising its maneuverability or any other operational aspect. Even though I would be not able to highlight the exact caliber and its weapon outfit, recent confrontations have proved that these boats utilized by both the RABS and SBS have got the best combination they can get. A recent confrontation which broke off the Iranathivu Island can be seen as the best case in point. During this particular confrontation, Security Forces monitoring sea tiger communication revealed that sea tiger cadres informing their sea tiger top saying that they cannot face the fire power directed by the naval units and repeatedly requested orders to withdraw from the battle. Even though this piece of communication is quite small, it does give away a big message. Thos who are experts in analyzing sea tiger communications will agree with me that this kind of communication has not been heard during previous battles.

The ability to detect enemy units with discrete and then to take them with total surprise followed by a huge and effective fire power can be termed as the most important characteristics of the combination of these two units. High speed and unique maneuverability of these boats definitely have added icing to the cake.

With this concept, the navy will be able to keep sea tigers on the back foot in all the occasions. They (Sea Tigers) will be not able to conduct their covert operations mingling with Indian trawlers or they will be not able to launch their suicide boats discretely to target naval fleet units as the navy has the tactical and operational advantage of deploying these units by combining to any of their other platforms.

Above all the commitment showed by the naval personnel starting from the present naval commander down to the recruit in the Navy has been always high. In addition to all these, the men who stand behind the weapons and the wheels of these boats have been given the best possible elite training along with a high standard of morale and discipline embedded on them to face an enemy once thought and praised high of its abilities by many westerns and so called war experts.

The combination of the SBS and newly developed RABS can be seen as the most effective tactical exploitation of naval units to counter any kind of a sea borne attack from the LTTE’s sea tiger wing. RABS/SBS concept quite surely has taken the sea tigers by surprise in the recent confrontations and these units will continue to hunt down any Sea Tiger boat/s no matter in what number they come as the new concept provides RABS/SBS to concentrate enough units within a very short time to deliver a lethal blow.

Quite rightly, the present navy commander had the correct plan in wiping the LTTE sea capabilities since the start of year 2006. He initially concentrated at the much important LTTE international maritime network and within a very short time period the Navy was able to wipe out LTTE’s arms supply network along with the small boats which took part in its operations. Then the navy made a significant move by introducing new fleet tactics which primarily aimed at destroying the sea tigers fighting wing.

The summary of confrontations will tell the story in a manner we all can understand. In year 2006, Navy confronted LTTE 21 times. In 2007, number of confrontations was 12. Year 2008 (up-to-date) Navy confronted sea tigers only 04 times. These figures show the rate in which the Navy had reduced LTTE sea activities and importantly their fighting capabilities. Today LTTE sea wing not only suffer from lack of supplies from out side but they also face severe shortage of experienced sea tiger cadres and importantly of fighting platforms.

We all can remember how high the Sea Tiger wing and its activities were couple of years ago. But today with the exploitation of new tactics along with a right combination of men and material behind, Navy has achieved what no other navy fighting terrorism could achieve during a very short time span. For sure in their success story, the RABS/SBS concept will have a separate chapter with all the great sea battles they fought.

The term “ Sri Lanka Navy: The Only Operational Navy” will continue to grow further along with many other new tactics and operational inductions.

By Ravin Edirisinghe - Asian Tribune -


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