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South Korea’s Navy launched a new fast patrol boat to help counter North Korea’s hovercraft force along its maritime demarcation line. The Navy statement said the new boat can effectively engage other small boats and even has countermeasures if attacked by missiles.
The Chamsuri-211, a new patrol boat killer medium, rocket (PKMR), will gradually replace the existing 20-year-old Chamsuri patrol boats in service.
According to Yonhap news, the new boats will greatly bolster Seoul’s ability to defend the tension-prone western maritime sea border with North Korea.
The new 210-ton boat will undergo extensive sea trials before officially joining the fleet in the second half of 2017.
The patrol boat is armed with 130 millimeter anti-ship guided rockets, which can hit North Korean hovercraft or air-cushion vehicles (ACV), that are very fast and hard to hit using conventional naval guns.
Besides the guided rockets, the boats are armed with a 76 mm rapid-firing main gun and two radar-guided 12.7 mm heavy machine guns.
The new PKMRs measures 44 meters in length has a beam of 7 meters and a crew of 20 sailors. It can reach speeds up to 40 knots, or 74 kilometers per hour, the Navy said.
Compared with the existing Chamsuri patrol boat killer medium (PKM) boats, the new vessels are larger, faster and more powerfully armed, while having a smaller crew. Also, the existing purely gun armed boats were not being effective against ACVs.