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Cablegate: Country Team Assessment for Surveillance Radars

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS COLOMBO 000460

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MASS PREL PGOV PTER CE LTTE
SUBJECT: COUNTRY TEAM ASSESSMENT FOR SURVEILLANCE RADARS
FOR STATIC & MOBILE COASTAL RADAR STATIONS

REF: LOR SUBMISSION FOR SURVEILLANCE RADARS FOR BOTH STATIC
& MOBILE COASTAL RADAR STATIONS

1. THE GOVERNMENT OF SRI LANKA HAS SUBMITTED REFERENCE
(FORWARDED UNDER SEPARATE COVER) REQUEST FOR SURVEILLANCE
RADARS FOR BOTH STATIC & MOBILE COASTAL RADAR STATIONS. THE
MINISTRY OF DEFENSE CURRENTLY DESIRES TO ESTABLISH COASTAL
RADAR STATIONS AND IS REQUESTING FOUR HIGH FREQUENCY OVER
THE HORIZON SURFACE WAVE RADARS WITH A MINIMUM RANGE OF 200
NM FOR STATIC RADAR STATIONS AND ONE HIGH FREQUENCY OVER THE
HORIZON SURFACE WAVE RADAR WITH A MINIMUM RANGE OF 200 NM
FOR A MOBILE RADAR STATION.

2. AMEMBASSY COLOMBO STRONGLY SUPPORTS THIS SALE AND IN
ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 70003 OF THE SAMM, THE FOLLOWING
INFORMATION IS SUBMITTED:

A. SRI LANKA REQUIRES THE SURVEILLANCE RADARS FOR THE
ESTABLISHMENT OF COASTAL RADAR STATIONS IN ORDER TO IMPROVE
MARITIME SURVEILLANCE CAPABILITY. IN PARTICULAR, THE SRI
LANKAN NAVY REQUIRES THIS PLATFORM FOR SURVEILLANCE
OPERATIONS WITHIN THE ECONOMIC EXCLUSIVE ZONE AND IN SUPPORT
OF GWOT. AT PRESENT, THE SRI LANKAN MILITARY HAS NO COASTAL
RADAR STATIONS, ONLY SHIP-BASED RADAR SYSTEMS. A US-
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE ASSESSMENT OF THE SRI LANKAN MILITARY
IN SEPTEMBER 2002 REPORTED LIMITED MARITIME SURVEILLANCE AND
INTERDICTION CAPABILITY TO BE THE CENTER OF GRAVITY IN THE
WAR AGAINST THE LTTE. ALTHOUGH A CEASE-FIRE HAS BEEN IN
EFFECT FOR OVER TWO YEARS, THE LTTE SEA TIGERS CONTINUE TO
OPERATE IN BOTH COASTAL AND INLAND WATERS. GREATER
SURVEILLANCE CAPABILITY IS REQUIRED TO MONITOR THE LTTE
SHIPPING NETWORK, WHICH CONTINUES TO BE INVOLVED IN
GUNRUNNING.

B. THE ACQUISITION OF THE SURVEILLANCE RADARS AND
ESTABLISHMENT OF COASTAL RADAR STATIONS WOULD IMPROVE THE
COUNTRY'S ABILITY TO REACH ITS NATIONAL SECURITY OBJECTIVES
AND DETER POTENTIAL LTTE VIOLATIONS OF THE CEASE-FIRE
AGREEMENT BY INCREASING THE SURVEILLANCE CAPABILITY OF THE
SRI LANKAN NAVY. THE INITIATION OF THIS PROGRAM WOULD
REQUIRE THE SLN TO GENERATE NEW UNITS TO MAN THE RADAR
STATIONS, CAUSING A SLIGHT ALTERATION IN THE OVERALL
STRUCTURE OF THE NAVY.
C. WHILE INDIA, SRI LANKA'S CLOSEST AND MOST
STRATEGICALLY IMPORTANT NEIGHBOR, MIGHT VOICE CONCERNS OVER
THE SPECIFIC POSITIONING OF THE RADAR STATIONS, THEY WOULD
LIKELY HAVE NO CONCERNS OVER THE ACQUISITION OF SUCH A
SYSTEM. INDIA CURRENTLY ASSISTS SRI LANKA IN SURVEILLANCE
OPERATIONS, INCLUDING PATROLS OF THE PALK STRAIT. INDIA
WOULD LIKELY VIEW SRI LANKA'S ESTABLISHMENT OF COASTAL RADAR
STATIONS AND THE ACQUISITION OF SURVEILLANCE RADARS
FAVORABLY AS ANY INCREASED SURVEILLANCE CAPABILITY BY THE
SRI LANKAN NAVY WOULD REDUCE INDIAN NAVY RESPONSIBILITIES.

D. TRAINING IN THE OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF THE
RADAR STATIONS WOULD BE REQUIRED AS A PART OF THE FMS
PACKAGE. THE SLN WOULD LIKELY TRAIN DEDICATED PERSONNEL TO
FOCUS ON SURVEILLANCE RADAR MAINTENANCE. WITH APPROPRIATE
TRAINING, SLN OPERATORS AND MAINTAINERS SHOULD HAVE NO
TROUBLE KEEPING SUCH SYSTEMS RUNNING.

E. THIS SALE SHOULD BE FINANCED WITH COUNTRY FUNDS.
THESE EXPENSES WERE NOT INCLUDED IN THE ANNUAL DEFENSE
PROCUREMENT BUDGET FOR 2004, HOWEVER, SENIOR OFFICIALS HAVE
INDICATED THAT FUNDING WOULD BE MADE AVAILABLE. THE OVERALL
ECONOMIC IMPACT OF THE TRANSFER ON THE SRI LANKAN ECONOMY IS
INSIGNIFICANT.

F. ALTHOUGH HUMAN RIGHTS CONSIDERATIONS CONTINUE TO BE A
PRIORITY WITH AMEMBASSY COLOMBO, THE GENERAL LEVEL OF HUMAN
RIGHTS GUARANTEES IS GOOD AND IMPROVING CONTINUOUSLY IN SRI
LANKA. THIS CONSIDERATION SHOULD NOT AFFECT THE PROPOSED
SALE.

G. AMEMBASSY STRONGLY RECOMMENDS THE APPROVAL OF THIS
PROPOSED SALE.

3. POC FOR THIS ACTION IS LTC RICHARD S. GIRVEN, ARMY AND
DEFENSE ATTACHE, USDAO COLOMBO, OR MS. HEATHER CARTER,
MARITIME PROGRAMS SPECIALIST, USDAO COLOMBO.

LUNSTEAD

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