Suicide bomber is the most feared weapon in terrorist arsenal. Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) was one of the few terrorist groups that carried out suicide attack at sea. They used different methods to attack naval craft until Sri Lankan Military defeated them last year. Sri Lanka Navy employed several counter measures against suicide attacks at sea.
LTTE launched suicide attacks hiding among fishing boats against Sri Lanka Navy. Suicide boats disguising as fishing boat approach naval ships and launch surprise attack. They carry about 500 kg of explosive, which is enough to destroy a small naval craft. It is difficult for naval ships to identify them, especially at night. Once they come closer to naval ships, they bang onto naval ship. Sailors have little time to react to attack.
At times terrorists combined surface attacks with suicide attack. They come in several small attack boats and surround naval craft. While confrontation is continuing, suicide craft approaches naval ships and bang onto it. Attack crafts draw attention of sailors away from suicide boat and help suicide craft to approach naval ship without getting detected.
In addition, Terrorists launched underwater suicide attack against naval craft. They use suicide divers and under water vehicles to attack naval ships. Suicide divers who fix explosive to their body approach naval craft and detonate them to destroy naval ships and facilities. At times, they reach targets in underwater vehicles laden with explosive. It is difficult to detect underwater suicide bombers, especially when they approach at night.
Sri Lankan Navy adopted several strategies to counter suited attack at sea. Early detection is important to counter suicide attack. Navy uses modern technology such as radars and thermal imaging systems for early detection. But detection is difficult when they hide among fishing boats. Early detection helps sailors to react quickly.
Sri Lanka Navy also uses highly maneuverable speed boats to counter suicide attack. When ships are highly maneuverable, they can escape from suicide attack quickly. Speed over the suicide attack is a great advantage to naval craft. Sri Lanka Navy used high maneuverable speed extensively to counter suicide attack at sea.
In addition, Sri Lanka Navy uses weapons with high rate of fire power and accuracy to counter suicide attack. It is quite difficult to attack and destroy suicide boats that are moving at high speed without high rate of fire power and accuracy. Weapons with high rate of fire power and accuracy can destroy suicide boats before they reach their target.
Suicide bomber is the most feared weapon in terrorist arsenal. However, only few terrorist organizations have launched suicide attack at sea, and LTTE is one of them. They launched both underwater and surface suicide attack against Sri Lanka Navy. Early detection of suicide boats, accurate and higher rate of fire power, and highly maneuverable speed boats can counter suicide threat at sea effectively.