Having struggled with its baby teeth for a while, the SLN finally grew its fangs and claws. And then went after the Sea-Tigers in a series of spectacular actions whose scale, intensity and tactical brilliance left other much hyped big budget navies stunned, breathless and wanting to know how our lads did it. The world now has to deal with the realization that the Sri Lankans have finally grown up and are big enough to get a real job.
Sri Lanka now has to reclaim our territorial position in the sea lanes of the fastest growing part of the world. While Sri Lanka was combating her internal threats, our maritime borders have begun to shrink as others inched into some of those areas. Now it becomes the responsibility of the Navy primarily to redefine and defend our territory far out to the seas.
Our most successful naval action so far has been accomplished primarily with the use of Offshore Patrol Craft [OPVs] of Indian and US origin. Close in shore combat patrolling is done mainly by a combination of foreign and locally built fast attack craft.
The Sri Lankan Navy today formally commisions the latest additions to her fleet, SLNS Sayurala, a 1160 Ton OPV of Indian origin. Formally named the ICGS Vigraha, she was a Vikram class ship commisioned in 1990 and has been in active duty with the SLN since August 2008. Here are some specifics of this ship.
Length: 74 meters Beam : 11.4 meters Draught: 3.2 Meters
Engines: 2 Diesels of 6200 horse power Range : 8500 nautical miles at 16 knots.
The ship is designed to carry either one Sea King Mk 42B or one HAL Chetak helicopter in addition to a solid hulled fast craft and two inflatables.
While in service with the Indian Navy it was armed with a 30mm automatic cannon and a number of 7.62 machine guns. The Sri Lankan Navy can be expected to come up with their own armaments mix based on changing threat perceptions.