Special Boat Squadron (Sri Lanka)
|Special Boat Squadron|
|Active||1993 - Present|
|Branch||Sri Lanka Navy|
|Type||Naval Special Forces|
|Part of||Special operations, Sri Lanka Navy|
|Engagements||Sri Lankan Civil War|
|Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne|
The Special Boat Squadron (SBS) (In Sinhalese: "විශේෂ යාත්රා බලඝණය" Visesha Yathra Balaghanaya) is the Sri Lanka Navy's elite special forces unit, modeled after the British Special Boat Service, it was raised in 1993 and fought in the Sri Lankan Civil War.
It forms part of the Sri Lanka Special Forces, alongside the Commando Regiment (CR), Special Forces Regiment (SF), and SLAF Special Forces (SLAFSF). Unlike any of the other Sri Lankan special forces units the SBS is a naval special forces unit.
The SBS was modeled after the Special Boat Service of the Royal Navy. In its role as a naval special forces unit it takes up wide variety of operations such as amphibious raids, Maritime Counter-Terrorism, Reconnaissance and target indication, combat swimmer missions and small boat operations. As a Special Forces unit, its role is not limited to water-borne operations. The SBS conducts operations on land, together with the Commando Regiment (CR) and Special Forces Regiment (SF), with regular ground combat units of the Navy and the Army and on many occasions autonomously.
The roles of the Special Boat Squadron are predominantly focused on, but not restricted to,
- Small boat operations in support of littoral operations
- Covert beach reconnaissance (Hydrographic survey) in advance of amphibious assault.
- Covert assault route preparation in advance of amphibious assault.
- Recovery or protection of ships subject to terrorist action.
- Maritime Counter-Terrorism
- Reconnaissance and target indication in the deep battlespace.
- Assault on verified targets.
- VBSS operation(Visit Board Search & Seizure)
- VIP Protection.
The SBS was inaugurated on 18 January 1993 at SLNS Elara in Karainagar, Jaffna with two officers and 76 able seamen under the leadership of Lieutenant Commander Ravindra Wijegunaratne. Shortly after completing special training the first Special Boat Squadron consisting of 25 was established. The first operation carried out by the SBS was in November 1993, when it took part in the recapturing of the Navy camp in Pooneryn which had been taken by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The SBS was the first to penetrate the camps defences after the camps capture. The SBS has taken part in many major operations carried out by the Sri Lankan military including operations such as Rivirasa, Dirithara and Agnikheela. The SBS was actively deployed following the resumption of hostilities in 2006
- Chief Petty Officer K. G. Shantha † - awarded the Parama Weera Vibhushanaya posthumously
- Lieutenant Commander Samantha Waruna Gallage - Recipient of WWV, RWP, RSP killed in action in Vettalakerni 1996 and a founding officer of SBS.
- Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne WV,RWP & Bar,RSP,ndc,psc - First Commander of the unit
- Ministry of Defence Sri Lanka
- Sri Lanka Navy
- Three Intakes of Sailors along with Elite SBS Contingent pass out at SLNS Nipuna