Processing Air raids and Cricket


An ominous feeling yesterday afternoon told me that watching cricket will be unhappy. So hit the sack early. Heard the gun fire later in the night but decided to go back to sleep unless an unexploded shell entered the room.

A Google search this morning for a non BBC source initially turned up a radio New Zealand article. Jasmine news has a slew of posts. Appropriately, Sachini Perera’s “Cynically Yours” blog as of this writing, seems to have the most useful info. Found this CNN article and CTV item via The Lanka Academic link on her post.

I find myself processing all this remarkably calmly. Blame it on having watched my parents shelter Tamil friends during the 83 riots (and having seen at least 1 car bomb) as a child, plus all that Buddhism delved into the last few year.

Remembered a piece in The Island I read Saturday morning. It was by a retired SLAF officer (wish I could find more details on that article) who pointed out that:

  • an AWACS such as the E-2C Hawkeye could easily detect small aircraft.
  • modern civilian GPS are accurate enough to fly without the need for lights on the ground. (In any-case there are enough back up generators to make a power grid black out not very effective).

Found an article as far back at 2000 talking about civilian GPS accuracy and a 1996 Stanford University news release about low tech adaptations of GPS that seem to back up what I read. The technology was fairly accurate and adaptable 10-7 years ago. I don’t have the expertise to speculate what last 7 years and the LTTE’s brain power could build.

Knowing our rulers, it will be a miracle if there’s a functional, airworthy AWACS anytime soon. They have higher priorities such as decent VIP drinks on Mihin air. Maybe (please bare with me while I vent) the purchase will enable at least a few people to buy a nice little place in the south of France or even throw a 2 week long wedding.

I wrote something even more nasty and cynical to end this post but deleted it. That level of cynicism isn’t going to do any good to anyone (specially right now). Reasonable people don’t do bitterly cynical posts and Cerno is reasonable.

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7 thoughts on “Processing Air raids and Cricket

  1. Mate.. I think the counter terror protocol in SL has a major defect. As you mentioned GPS can accurately guide a blind plane even though it is dark, LTTE might get the regional blackout in order to formulate a ground attack. Now that would be real tragic! I’m sure them guys are now flying with GPS but the bombs they make doesnt have the GPS interface yet. When they do get the functionality im sure it will be more disastrous. Once again we see that SLAF isn’t doing much as for the 2nd time the tigers have managed to penetrate Colombo air and were manage to fly back to the north! If I were the head of the SLAF, I would have kept several fast attack Helo’s at ratmalana and some undisclosed locations as stand by. We got Ratmalana Radar system and Katunayake one to detect the presence and to guide the fighter pilots and assault teams. Why aren’t they used. Come on its a WW2 plane we are dealing with. The only thing our SLAF did was black out the whole city and launched the Anti-Air fire and then afterwards go bomb some place in North! I guess them guys are thinking only about retaliation but not minimizing the threat!

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  2. Thank you for the comment 🙂

    You are quite right. Sadly “The Situation Report” in the Sunday Times (for April 29th) by Iqbal Athas paints a grim picture about the Air Force’s resource problems. It quotes a report made by a U.S military team. Some of the radar systems have had problems being operational, night vision equipment is spotty, air craft lack spare parts etc. Only the sharp eyes of a gunner spotted the planes (according to the article anyway). There are also other articles in The Islandthat have been unearthing other structural/procedural problems.

    The big picture fact is that 6 years of reports that the LTTE was acquiring air power didn’t result in any contingency planning. On the other hand, people with the right connections to make a quick big buck selling old AA ammo (an perhaps some antique radar systems too).

    Another factor is that the LTTE is currently aiming for propaganda value to boast their fund raising. The current responses to the attacks made them seem bigger and more powerful than they actually are. Bet that will help jump start their cash flow.

    What they’ll do with the money is the scary prospect.

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  3. Thank you for the link.

    Well written article though the comments pasted after it have deteriorated to the usual Sri Lanka expat shouting match about ethinic-politcs/history.

    The LTTE has made the political class (Who have historically been incompetent anyway) more powerful, richer and greedier than ever before.

    So the thieves who rule us respond to the humiliations of their own stupidity & greed with thuggery. That’s all they have know.

    A peacful Vesak to everyone (to dampen the cynicism) 🙂

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  4. You are welcome.

    Well…I would just ignore the comments 🙂

    Here is some hope.

    *You are not living in a Polpot type dictatorship.
    *Sri Lanka still has a reasonably high literacy rate, making it easier to inform the masses.
    *The current government values and relies on international opinion/funding.
    *Even the LTTE values international opinion.
    *Read Kumar Rupasinghe’s website (I know he is not very popular), but it says that abductions have reduced in the last 3 months, and he suspects its because of international opinion. Also saw an interview with someone in the free media movement that stated that increased awareness and pressure from International organisations including the NGOs has provided them with some protection. Expats, both Sinhalese and Tamil also play a role in this.
    *Blogs like yours play a role in giving people outside an idea of the daily challenges people face in the country.

    The key is patience and perseverence. You can’t reverse what has happened over decades in one day. There are some courageous people working in your country and people seeing this from outside are willing to support them.

    So…You are not alone.
    A peaceful Vesak to you too.

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  5. Thank you 😀 Hope backed up by a bit of logic is very nice gift for Vesak (though I wouldn’t call myself “courageous”. 😉
    A peaceful Vesak to you as well.

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