Sri Lanka navy gets attack craft, focus on guarding ocean wealth

Nov 25, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s navy is acquiring more fast attack craft as its role shifts to protecting the island’s exclusive economic zone following the end of a war, navy commander Vice Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe said. “We are acquiring six fast attack craft,” he told a news conference held to announce the navy’s plans to celebrate its 60th anniversary.

“Four crafts have already been delivered and we’re getting the other two in January.”

Samarasinghe told LBO the latest vessels were acquired from Israel and were bigger than previous crafts and capable of going further out to sea as the navy focuses on protecting its exclusive economic zone.

Israel has been one of the key suppliers of arms, technology and expertise to Sri Lanka in its war against the Tamil Tiger separatists.

Fast attack crafts supplied by Israel in the early years of the 30-year ethnic war, which ended in May 2009, helped the navy fight the ‘Sea Tiger’ naval wing of the Tamil separatists and prevent arms smuggling.

“We now need bigger vessels as our focus shifts to protecting the country’s economic wealth in the oceans,” Samarasinghe said.

Elaborate plans to mark the navy’s diamond jubilee on December 09 include a naval ex