The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have been expanding their runway at Iranamadu during the past few weeks. Latest aerial surveillance images have shown the runway being expanded possibly to support larger aircraft.
The tigers may be expanding the runway in the hope of acquiring larger aircraft than the existing Zlin 143s which do not require a well built runway to operate from. However given the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF)'s continuous bombings raids over Iranamadu, it is doubtful if the tigers have plans to use the Iranamadu runway even if they do manage to acquire better aircraft. UAV surveillance footage during bombing runs have clearly showed bombs from SLAF jets hitting the target accurately, leaving behind large craters on the runway. These craters however seem to be easily repaired.
The only other explanation of this expansion would be its use as a decoy. This theory is fueled by MI reports which indicated Zlins are launched from locations in Mullaithiv south rather than from Iranamadu runway.However discarding the warnings without proper investigation can have deadly consequences for the security forces. Before the tigers showed their 'air power' SLAF's UAVs picked up images of Zlins parked on Iranamadu runway. Initially the warnings were discarded claiming that the spotted aircraft were dummies. At a later time, a high ranking defence official (at the time) made history by claiming 'the tigers have brought planes for transportation purposes'.
Military Intelligence believes that tigers have between 5 to 10 Zlin 143 aircraft to at least one a locally built bomb rack is installed. Although the accuracy of the bombing raids are often very low, the threat posed by these aircraft remains significant.