Colombo, Peace and Conflict

Flying Tigers…

From Australia:

This image occupies almost half a page in the World section of today’s Age – the leading paper in Melbourne. I am sure it has also been printed in the Sydney Morning Herald and in many papers around the world.


I wonder if it made it on to Sri Lanka’s papers… Of course, it’s not clear when this photo was taken, and if it represents the type of aircraft that dropped the explosives over the air force base – but nevertheless – it’s no doubt doing the rounds in newspapers and websites throughout the world …

And where’s the discussion speculating the type of aircraft? Perhaps CNN / Fox / BBC are all running panels, featuring experts, anaylsing these images…

  • naz

    Other than the term “air force” , which is debatable, It’ s great to read tight, objective factual reporting. First time I saw that photo. How are things? N

  • Sanjana

    The photos were on Tamilnet from last morning, but were perhaps largely responsible for the site going down, because of the traffic, for most of yesterday. The full set of photos of the LTTE’s air capacity can be seen at, featuring a beaming Prabhakaran to boot.

    Clearly, this is more than material damage, a psychological blow to the GOSL. However, TamilNet claims today that even with regards to material damage, the LTTE’s attack was far more successful that the GOSL is letting on to date (

    Dayan Jayatilleke tries to play down the attack (in his analysis published in the Asian Tribune) but I think he misses the point – this is asymmetrical warfare and as the hijacking of several civilian Airbus aircraft on 11th Sep. 2001 in the US is a prime example of, it’s not about matching or exceeding the SLAF airpower to achieve air superiority, but rather, the threat of payloads to civilian targets in the form of conventional bombs, biological threats or even kamikaze attacks, that’s the frightening prospect.

    Clearly, the SLAF was caught unawares, even though at least one Indian military analyst claims that the LTTE’s air power is at least 9 years in the making.

    The fall out clearly will be, above all else, the hardening of positions within the Government and a consolidation of its military efforts to militarily defeat the LTTE by any and all means necessary. This is a blitzkrieg of propaganda as well – as both sides show no signs of giving up their war cries and a tit-for-tat strategy that may well secure land for either side in through combat, but at what cost, and for how long?

  • Zayn

    Naz, there’s nothing called objective reporting.

  • suntzu

    the government of sri lanka says that the bombing of the airforce base by the LTTE was a cowardly act…ha!ha! ha!
    when the airforce bombs civilians…what is that??? a heroic act???
    when the airforce bombed and killed 60 school girls in the north…was it a heroic act???

  • Sam, there’s a Daily Mirror graphic today on its frontpage that tries to reveal what these planes are. But no one really knows.

    Daily Mirror illustration on LTTE planes

    I’ve uploaded a higher resolution photo of the illustration here.

  • kayhaytha

    Hmmm….. I wonder whether the (Melbourne) Age would have accorded such publicity had Al-Qaeda or the IRA achieved a similar kind of ‘air-power’ !!

  • SH

    Hmmm….. I wonder whether the (Melbourne) Age would have accorded such publicity had Al-Qaeda or the IRA achieved a similar kind of ‘air-power’ !!
    As someone who gets the Age delivered everyday, the answer is yes. Especially since it is on an established army base. It is news.

  • SH

    Also in the capital city, next to an international airport. It is quite obviously international news. So the Melbourne Age has to report it…as does the BBC or any other media organisation.

  • SH

    People might also be interested that the Melbourne Age had the following Sri Lankan news under a daily section called the “oddspot”:

    Friday March 23, 2007
    A Sri Lankan Buddhist monk who applied for a job as a gun-carrying assistant superintendent of police in Colombo has been turned down – because he wouldn’t give up his saffron robes.

    If you are not familiar with the Ages oddspot….click the link above and have a look at some of the other news items placed in this section.

    Eg. Monday March 19, 2007
    Portugal’s Renova, one of Europe’s biggest producers of household paper products, has put a diamond-encrusted toilet-paper holder on sale for €100,000 ($A168,000). The bog bling is to mark the worldwide sale of 1million rolls of the company’s novelty black toilet paper.

  • The Age is known for its heavy left wing bias. Herald Sun is the most popular paper in Melbourne.

    To imagine that everyone in the world is so concerned about what sort of a magical plane this is and would have expert panels to discuss it, is just wishful thinking. It’s probably just an old Cessna with a crude gravity bomb housing. There is no conclusive proof that this was the actual plane used, and some people think the bombs were dropped by motorised gliders. Granted, this is an explosive sensational story, but there’s no real long term impact. They’ve exposed their hand, lost the element of surprise for good, but have failed to carry out their primary mission, which was to neutralise SLAF’s aerial power. I wouldn’t say it’s a cowardly act, but the LTTE must be quite desperate if they had to pull out their trump card at this stage.

    It’s the SLA that’s making real gains in the battlefield. That’s what counts. Remember how the LTTE managed to kill hundreds of soldiers just a few months ago. Does anyone even remember where it happened? This would be forgotten in a few weeks’ time. The diaspora may finally have a reason to gloat after months of gloom and doom, but they are set for a massive and heartbreaking let down.

  • SH

    Just Mal says:
    The Age is known for its heavy left wing bias. Herald Sun is the most popular paper in Melbourne.
    The Herald Sun is a tabloid-style newspaper (Murdoch owned) and more popular. JustMal is right in the sense that relative to this paper the Age could be considered as “left-wing”.

    After reading JustMal’s comment I checked the Herald Sun online news section and found this:
    Tigers bomb military base in first air assault
    By Amal Jayasinghe in Colombo, Sri Lanka
    March 27, 2007 04:00am
    * Sri Lanka’s main military base bombed
    * At least three people killed
    * Probes launched into security breaches,21985,21453860-663,00.html
    the source is: Agence France-Presse. They may not have their own international correspondents.

  • sam

    JustMal wrote: “To imagine that everyone in the world is so concerned about what sort of a magical plane this is and would have expert panels to discuss it, is just wishful thinking.”

    Um – obviously you didn’t pick up on the fact that I was making a joke about the panels on CNN / Fox / BBC …

    McDonalds is also very popular. And wasn’t Hitler also relatively popular during his time?

    Thanks GroundViews for the scan of the newspaper…

  • JL

    Just in case anyone hasn’t noticed; the illustration from the Daily Mirror is clearly labelled as a Pilatus PC-7. More information can be found at the following link:

    The picture from the Sydney Morning Herald shows a side-by-side two seater, and not a tandem two seater like the PC-7.

    I think it’s needless to say that both of the planes could easily have been shot down using technology from 60 years ago. But with a little bit of skillful flying, some luck and a target that isn’t expecting you I suppose anything is possible.

  • wicks

    There is little wonder the LTTE has been successful in many fronts. Psy ope, propaganda and guerilla tactics which the government side has still to match. Actually the govt should be the front runner.
    By their (LTTE) psy ops, they have managed to make a menagerie of Sri Lankan politics as politicians are more interested in putting their fellows behind bars rather than tell the world about the atrocities of the LTTE. Every successful got has followed the same trend. Now it is a divided south too in the bag!

    Everything about the govt is tit for tat – for their fellow politicians and for the LTTE and when the match is over they have finished their steam. N wonder then There isn’t an atom of intelligence remaining within the govt. The Indian did not have to tell about the 9 years in the making. Even we civilianns knew of it! At least the LTTE is trying to achieve something by hook or by crook, What have our pundits got till now?