Securing Sri Lanka’s maritime boundaries:Russian Gepard 5.1 Class Frigates
By Sugeeswara Senadhira
Sri Lanka is an island nation geographically situated close to a strategically important international sea lane and focuses on being a regional sea hub. Hence, maritime security of the country is of paramount importance. The threats faced by the critical sea lanes in the Indian Ocean range from the traditional security threats to the non-traditional, like piracy and maritime terrorism.
The measures taken to address the threats in the sea lanes are also different and have an impact on the long term sustainability and efficacy of the measures.
The Indian Ocean littoral states have been primarily driven by the collective efforts in the region and this has yielded most success as piracy rates have dropped in the region in recent years. In contrast, the international community has been driving most of the measures taken in the Gulf of Aden with a nascent regional effort underway in the form of the Djibouti Code of Conduct. Yet, the piracy rates have continued to increase, despite the presence of the international forces.
Under these circumstances, it is necessary to increase Sri Lanka's capacity to secure our waters with greater surveillance and striking capabilities. The first step in this direction is to strengthen the capacity of the Navy and, if required, establish a Naval Air Force Wing. It should be a Joint Naval Command with the Air Force and with a Joint Communications Network with air and maritime capabilities. Such a force must be supported by Army, Navy, and Air Force intelligence and reconnaissance services and those services would have to be modernized.
During the last three decades, especially after the withdrawal of Indian Forces in March 1990, the Sri Lanka Navy was primarily developed to fight with the Sea Tigers (LTTE). The vessels such as Israeli Dvoras acquired by the Navy were fast moving and highly manoeuvrable small craft, with reliable medium calibre surface guns and optronics with day and night vision capabilities.
Similarly, the small boat concept was introduced to attack LTTE suicide boats. The inshore patrol craft and arrow boats were manufactured locally and Special Forces personnel were trained to handle them.
However, after the defeat of the LTTE in May 2009, it was observed that the fast attack craft (FAC) squadron had nearly 57 craft, but their role was very limited after LTTE capabilities were completely destroyed out at sea by the Navy.
In 2015, during the Galle Dialogue; International Maritime Conference, the Navy launched "Sri Lanka Navy's Maritime Strategy 2025" as an initial step towards formulating a much needed maritime policy document under the leadership of the then Vice Admiral, Ravindra Wijegunaratne. This unclassified document was approved by the government as the road map for fleet expansion of the Navy and 'rightsizing' the Navy considering present threat perception.
The team of experts recommended the purchase of Russian Gepard 5.1 class frigates after inspecting several frigates offered by other countries including India. The then Navy Commander, Wijegunaratne said that Gepard 5.1 class frigates were ideal for the multifaceted tasks of the Navy.
A senior government source said that it was a government-to-government agreement and payment was under the concessional loan extended by Russia. "Hence, there is no question of third party middlemen or underhand commissions," he said.
Moscow also confirmed that the Russian Federation was concluding an agreement with Sri Lanka on the credit purchase of Gepard-class frigates. Russia's Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) Spokeswoman, Maria Vorobyeva said, "The delivery of the project Gepard 5.1 to Sri Lanka is planned on the basis of an intergovernmental agreement on providing a state export credit for its financing."
Navy experts are of the opinion that acquisition of state-of-the-art Gepard 5.1 class frigates will enhance its capabilities in the Indian Ocean immensely. Such a frigate can be used for more than 50 years, the Navy said.
The Navy's Maritime Strategy 2025 report suggested that the Navy plans on acquiring two frigates by 2025. In order to achieve the objectives of the fleet expansion plan, one frigate needs to be acquired in 2018. In this context, the acquisition of a Gepard 5.1 class frigate from Russia was negotiated at government-to-government level under the line of credit offered by the Russian Government.
Russia provided Sri Lanka with a line of credit in the amount of US$ 300 million for a period of 10 years for the purchase of Russian military equipment. The Russian Government also disclosed that apart from Sri Lanka, two other Asian countries - Vietnam and Bangladesh - are also negotiating possible purchases of Gepard-class frigates from Russia.
- Bellanwila Chief Prelate’s Death Police await JSC report to probe Coroner’s complaint Samaraweera insists on immediate action
- UN’s Resident Coordinator Una McCauley no more
- EP Women LG membership hopefuls harassed
- Bank of Maldives soon in Colombo
- Male’s NCTC says 50 Maldivians in ISIS Two nabbed at BIA recently
- Having PC polls on PR system discussed
- Police arrest 2,500 in pre-dawn swoop
- Lanka ready to take in ‘failed’ asylum seekers
- Washington Must Rethink Policy on North Korea
- Commitments made to International community Government must be held accountable - Sampanthan
- Lankan worker in KSA named in employer’s will Rewarded for services 22 years later
- Chinese New Year from 1 to 4 March Independence Square Arcade lights up from 6 p.m. to 10p.m.
- SAITM u’grads write to President Pleased with enrolment to KDU
- Journalist Joe Seneviratne’s funeral today
- President scheduled to visit Delhi Will attend ISA conference and solar summit
- Hospital ship USNS Mercy arrives in Sri Lanka Humanitarian and disaster preparedness mission
- Diyatalawa bus explosion Army appoints CoI
- Divi Neguma case in June
- CIABOC driver nabbed with heroin
- SriLankan Unions form Alliance For sustainability
- Baby jumbo possession sans license Magistrate Gamage’s bail condition relaxed
- Drug lord D. Manju killed in shooting
- Amnesty Int’l charges SL backsliding on HR commitments
- Seeking release from Avant-Garde case Gota files revision petition
- Child porn on Whatsapp racket India’s CBI to write to SL
- Kandy SC hold edge over Navy SC
- Million rupee donation for PSJASL
- Sanadru scores 100 not out
- Four teams advance to quarters
- Australians in front against South Africa A
- Thurstan finish on top
- Sharma set to lead in Sri Lanka
- Christ King beat Loyola by 184 runs
- Kavindu, Shermila clocks fastest 200m times
- 1500 athletes participating
- Irfan, Sangakkara fashion Multan win
- Hundred men to cycle 445.9 Km
- FIFA trusts Russia for safe World Cup
- Tiafoe topples del Potro in Delray Beach
- League Starts today
- Wenger vows to attack Man City in final
- Kenya captain, coach and board president resign
- Aitken Spence regain archery crown
- D.S. Senanayake and Mahinda in final
- Cummins, Hazlewood in pace blitz
- SL apparel exports hit US$ 5B, highest ever Exports to EU increase by 27.2% after GSP+ reinstatement
- Hambantota Port takes quantum leap, expands services
- Coal imports hit US$ 261.5 million for 2017
- EasyHotel to raise £ 50M for budget hotel expansions
- Corruption Perception Index Sri Lanka improves 4 points to rank 91 Journalists continue to die for the truth in corrupt nations
- Government Securities Market NFOs top $61.39M
- South Asian Micro-Entrepreneurs to host microfinance conference
- Women earn up to 43% less at Barclays
- National Chamber one-day workshop ‘HR- Driving force in an organization’
- CIM Sri Lanka to host networking event for 2018
- NDB Wealth sponsors 2017 Sri Lanka National Junior Golf Ranking Awards
- Ceylinco General Insurance records excellent results in 2017
- HNB launches Gateway Student Savings Unit
- Nestlé delivers Rs 37.6 billion sales in 2017
- Commercial Bank ends 2017 on strong footing
- Sri Lanka Ports Authority records Rs 13B in Profit Before Tax for 2017
- COLOMBO CITY CENTRE BAGS ASIA’S BRANDS & LEADERS AWARDS 2017
- Renault celebrates 120 years
- Pumping fuel with NTB American Express and win iPhone X devices
- Softlogic Properties promotes Everest Apartments
- Concretes & Abstracts Shuffling the pack or packing the shuffle?
- Government legal Speaker
- CONSTITUTION ON REMOVAL OF PM
- Where there is no vision, there is no hope
- Pursuing Peace Subverting Government through foreign funding
- For women candidates Battle is far from over
- Who really understands their anguish as they cry out...Where are they? Office of Missing Persons is yet to be made operational
- Tree planting goes hi-tech with Thuru
- Komaali Kings Breathing life into Lankan Tamil cinema
- Creating rain where there is none Artificial rain generation to tackle droughts
- Yameen is ‘cleaning up’ decades of elite rule – Maldives Envoy
- Masses are more politically literate than politicians
- Gota is Lankan Putin – Gammanpila
- President and PM are responsible for the election results
- Basil says…Await the return of ‘Spiritual Leader’ MR
- Accomplice to the crime Our own indifference
- UK flower farm suspected of enslaving migrants
- Costly Renovation
- Planetary combinations that nullify Arishta yogas
- Saraswathie –Consort of Maha Brahma
- Autobiography: Lighthouse of the Impossible Beyond conditioned mind and world
- Kitchen should be properly planned
- 7th House foretells nature of marriage
- K. S. Sivakumaran’s On Films Seen
- Some recent impressions
- Bandula Nanayakkarawasam: From Galle to the world
- Pauline Kael: The critic wore cowboy boots
- Pauline Kael: The critic wore cow boy boots
- “Hail, Caesar!” Silliness as a virtue
- Notes on history: The thinkers and the doers
- Reflections on a nation of non-readers
- Kite Surfing Lanka Kalpitiya An experience of a lifetime
- Ella and mini Adam’s Peak
- A cave of history -Ravana Cave
- Anger in NE Nigeria over Boko Haram ‘abduction’ response
- Macerata, Italy’s reluctant immigration battleground
- How Dudley’s 30-day Govt got defeated