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Cablegate: Country Team Assessment for Vertical Take Off And

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

UNCLAS COLOMBO 000565

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MASS PREL PGOV PTER CE LTTE
SUBJECT: COUNTRY TEAM ASSESSMENT FOR VERTICAL TAKE OFF AND
LANDING (VTOL) EAGLE EYE UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLES (UAV)

REF: LOR SUBMISSION FOR VTOL EAGLE EYE UAV

1. THE GOVERNMENT OF SRI LANKA HAS SUBMITTED REFERENCE
(FORWARDED UNDER SEPARATE COVER) REQUEST FOR TWO VERTICAL
TAKE OFF AND LANDING (VTOL) EAGLE EYE UNMANNED AERIAL
VEHICLES (UAV). THE SRI LANKA NAVY CURRENTLY DESIRES TO
PURCHASE TWO VTOL EAGLE EYE UAVS IN ORDER TO ENHANCE THEIR
SURVEILLANCE CAPABILITIES.

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

A. SRI LANKA REQUIRES THE TWO VTOL UAVS IN ORDER TO
INCREASE AND IMPROVE ITS MARITIME SURVEILLANCE CAPABILITY.
SRI LANKA ALREADY POSSESSES UAV SURVEILLANCE CAPABILITY,
HOWEVER ITS MARITIME UAV SURVEILLANCE CAPABILITY IS LIMITED.
THIS PLATFORM WOULD BE USED FOR SURVEILLANCE OPERATIONS
WITHIN THE ECONOMIC EXCLUSIVE ZONE AND IN SUPPORT OF GWOT.
A US-DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE ASSESSMENT OF THE SRI LANKA
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 TWO VTOL UAV UNITS 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 LANKA NAVY (SLN). THE SLN INTENDS TO BASE ONE UAV
UNIT ON THE EX-USCG CUTTER COURAGEOUS AND THE OTHER UAV UNIT
ON THE INDIAN MADE SAYURA, AN OFFSHORE PATROL VESSEL. THE
INITIATION OF THIS PROGRAM WOULD REQUIRE THE SLN TO GENERATE
NEW UNITS ON-BOARD THESE SHIPS TO MAN AND MAINTAIN THE
UNITS, CAUSING A SLIGHT ALTERATION IN THE OVERALL STRUCTURE
OF THE SLN.

C. AS SRI LANKA ALREADY POSSESSES A LIMITED UAV
SURVEILLANCE CAPABILITY, INDIA, SRI LANKA'S CLOSEST AND MOST
STRATEGICALLY IMPORTANT NEIGHBOR, IS UNLIKELY TO VOICE
CONCERNS OVER SRI LANKA'S ACQUISITION OF THIS CAPABILITY.
FURTHERMORE, AS INDIA CURRENTLY ASSISTS SRI LANKA IN
SURVEILLANCE OPERATIONS, INCLUDING PATROLS OF THE PALK
STRAIT, INDIA WOULD LIKELY VIEW SRI LANKA'S ACQUISITION OF
VTOL UAVS FAVORABLY, AS ANY INCREASED SURVEILLANCE
CAPABILITY BY THE SLN WOULD REDUCE INDIAN NAVY
RESPONSIBILITIES.

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

E. THIS SALE WOULD 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 LANKA 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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