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Sri Lanka Military Industry

Sri Lanka had no appreciable domestic military industry until recently. However, the neccessities of the final struggle against the Tamil Tigers did provoke some domestic arms production. In January 2011, Army Commander Jagath Jayasuriya said the Sri Lanka Army would offer to sell foreign countries some of the military hardware which it developed to fight the Tiger guerrillas. He said items on offer included a mini-UAV developed by the Army, bullet-proof jackets, additional security features in bullet-proof vehicles and weapons which had been modified. Navy Spokesman Athula Senarath said they had developed a Small Attack craft which could be used in security operations. He said the Wave Rider inshore Patrol Craft and another craft known as the Arrow Craft were other inventions of the Navy. Weapons fitted to Dvora craft had also been invented by the Navy.

Sri Lanka's oldest and most enduring military relationship has been with Britain. As a British colony, the island was garrisoned with British troops and, following independence, its own indigenous armed forces were organized, trained, armed, and led by British military personnel. Even after the government of S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike withdrew island base rights from British forces in 1957, the British continued to be a major supplier of military hardware. Although the British government has denied any direct involvement, for a time former British Special Air Service personnel under the auspices of the private firm of Keeny Meeny Services were instrumental in training Sri Lankan troops in counterterrorist and counterinsurgency techniques.

Colombo Dockyards shipbuilding activities commenced operations in 1974 with the construction of small tug boats, patrol boats and barges which has now transformed into a major income earner for the company. The year 1982 saw completion of the first Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) built in Sri Lanka. This was followed in 1992 by the commencement of aluminium Shipbuilding in Sri Lanka Yard No. 106: Fast Patrol Boat for Sri Lanka Navy. The year 1998 witnessed the first aluminium vessel to the Republic of Maldives and the first vessel to the National Security Services built by Yard Nos. 122/123 Coastal Surveillance Vessels (CSV). The first Project for the Indian Navy came in 2004: OE 0002 Retrofitting of Floating Dock Navy.

The company has been successful in securing orders from both local and overseas clients by competing with leading shipbuilders worldwide and currently occupies an enviable position in the worlds elitist group of shipbuilding yards that specialize in the construction of high powered and complex tug boats as well as aluminium hulled high speed boats.

The Fast Attack Crafts UFAC II [Ultra fast Attack craft series 11] was designed and built by Colombo Dockyard, based on the Israeli -Shaldog Mk 11. Heavily armed with typhoon 25-30mm stabilised cannon/oerlikion 20mm cannon plus other armaments.It's operational range is between 500-600 nautical miles. Used for littoral warfare and has a multi-role attack/defense/patrolling and boarding functions.It is the main workhorse of our Navy in combination with the normal Fast Attack Craft.

As the Tamil ethnic crisis deepened in the 1980s, the Jayewardene government sought increasing military aid from a variety of countries. China, Britain, the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), and South Africa supplied Sri Lanka with arms. By the end of the decade military equipment holdings included small arms of Chinese, Singapore, Pakistani, and Western origin; armored cars and armored personnel carriers of British, South African, and domestic manufacture; mortars and light-to-medium- artillery pieces from Yugoslavia, Pakistan, and the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany).

Lanka Logistics and Technologies Ltd. handles the acquisition of equipment and services for the Sri Lankan military. Under the Defense Ministry, the mission of Lanka Logistics & Technologies Ltd is to facilitate procurement of restricted and strategically important military equipment and services for the Sri Lanka armed forces, Police and other state owned institutions, directly from foreign state owned organizations/manufacturers in an expeditious and transparent manner. Lanka Logistics & Technologies Ltd. (LLTL) is an entity, fully owned by the Government of Sri Lanka, established to facilitate procurement of military hardware and services for the institutions coming under the purview of the Ministry of Defence. The Company is also engaged in assisting in the development of the indigenous defence industry, and also facilitates projects with national security implications.

The Defence Ministries of Vietnam and Sri Lanka will strengthen co-operation through exchanging high-ranking delegations, language training and sharing experience in army building, mine and bomb clearance and the defence industry. The two ministries reached the agreement during talks between Deputy Minister of National Defence Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, in Hanoi on 05 September 2011.

As of 2012 it was the policy of the United States to deny licenses or other approvals for exports or imports of defense articles and defense services destined for or originating in Sri Lanka, except that a license or other approval may be issued, on a case-by-case basis, for humanitarian demining and aerial or maritime surveillance.

In 2009 the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) was negotiating the procurement of Lethal Military Equipment (LME) from North Korea and Iran. Lanka Logistics and Technologies Ltd, the Sri Lankan company responsible for the acquisition of equipment and services for the Sri Lankan military was negotiating the purchase of RPG-7 Rocket Propelled Grenade Launchers (RPGs) and Multiple Rocket Launchers (MRLs) from from the Korea Mining Development Company (KOMID), North Koreas primary weapons trading firm. Some of these proposed arms imports appeared to violate UNSCR 1718.

Irans Ministry of Defense Logistics Export Center (MODLEX), in December 2007, provided the Sri Lankan Navy a quote of $11.4 million for rockets and rocket launchers that could be installed on Sri Lankan naval equipment. The offer did not include the cost of installation and training, which could be provided at an additional cost. An Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force element located in Sri Lanka, in February 2008, provided details to an Iranian shipping company for the procurement of weapons to the Sri Lanka Army. The total cost of the weapons and defense equipment totaled approximately $40 million. In August 2006, the US Government demarched the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) regarding its interest in acquiring pyrotechnic and armament spare parts for training aircraft, as well as hundreds of weapons from Iran.

Any arms purchase contracts entered into by Sri Lankan entities with North Korea or Iran, if implemented, could trigger sanctions against the entities involved under the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act (INKSNA). Paragraph 8(b) of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1718 requires member states to prohibit the procurement of certain military-related items, including LME such as combat aircraft, battle tanks, large caliber artillery systems, or missile systems, or related materiel including spare parts, and that any import of such items by Sri Lanka would constitute a violation of UNSCR 1718. In addition, paragraph 8(c) of UNSCR 1718 requires UN Member States to prevent transfer from North Korea of any technical training, advice, services or assistance related to these items.

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Page last modified: 05-05-2012 19:19:08 ZULU