Friday, February 20, 2009

Tamil Tigers - They Have Their Own Air Force Now?!

From a BBC News, Colombo article by Roland Buerk posted on Monday, March 26, 2007.  

Its amazing what you can dig up on the internet. Just a link in a article about one subject and take you off in another direction.  I was reading Reuters and saw a article (by Ranga Sirilal. Reuters dated February 20, 2009 about the Tamil Tigers terrorist organization attack Colombo yet again).  With their own aircraft! I must have missed that issue of Solider of Fortune magazine.

Two rebel Tamil Tiger aircraft attacked the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo on Friday, bombing a tax building and injuring at least 27 people.  According to the defense spokesmanKeheliy Rambukwella, "One plane dropped a bomb on the Inland Revenue building catching on fire."  He went on, "We have shot one down in Katunayake and found the wreckage and the body of the pilot."  Katunayake is the international airport outside Colombo.  The separatists Tamil Tiger rebels have been cornered in a shrinking war zone, but they have a fleet of small planes that they have used to carry out aerial attacks in the past.  

While most of the territory has been taken by the rapid military advance of the Sri Lankanarmy, none of their small, single-engine planes have been found so far.  

The Sri Lankan civil war is the longest-running war in Asia and has killed a reported 70,000 people since it begn in 1983.  And the rebel group not only operates aircraft, but it has a sea wing as well.  

What is this I asked myself?  A terrorist/rebel organization now operating their own air force?  I had to check this out.  And I did.  That is where I found the article by Roland Buerk (March 26, 2007.  BBC News, Colombo, Sri Lanka).  

The rebels are using single-engine Czech-design Zlin-143 aircraft.  Normally a civilian light general aviation aircraft.  There was a photo showing one of these aircraft with a bomb rack holding four bombs on it with that article as well as a drawing of the Zlin-143s

From 1980s through 2007, the fight has always been on land or out at sea, but now the rebels have added a air capability.  

I have posted this on my other blog as well (