South Korea‘s Navy launched a new fast patrol boat (Navy Boats Chamsuri 211) to help counter North Korea’s hovercraft force along its maritime demarcation line, the military said Thursday.
The new 210-ton patrol boat killer medium rocket (PKMR), named Chamsuri 211, will gradually replace the existing 20-year-old Chamsuri patrol boats in service, the Navy said. A spokesman said the new Navy Boats will greatly bolster Seoul’s ability to defend the tension-prone western maritime sea border with North Korea.
The launching event took place at a shipyard operated by Hanjin Heavy Industries Co. in Busan, 453 kilometers southeast of Seoul with the new Navy Boats to undergo extensive sea trials before officially joining the fleet in the second half of 2017.
Chamsuri-class patrol vessels (Hangul: 참수리급 고속정) are naval boats that function as patrol boats. These entered service with the South Korean navy in the 1970s, and have since seen service with three other navies, of which the Philippine Navy is currently the largest import user.
The fast patrol boat can be deployed in a range of missions including the surveillance of shipping in the exclusive economic zones and national territorial waters, illegal fishery surveillance, smuggling surveillance, fast strike against hostile naval forces, naval gun fire support and enforcement patrol.
The Chamsuri 211 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. The Navy added the new boat can effectively engage other small boats and even has countermeasures if attacked by missiles.
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 211 patrol boat killer medium (PKM) boats, the new vessels are larger, faster and more powerfully armed, while having a smaller crew. Existing PKMs have a crew of more than 30 with their main armament being limited to 30-40 mm automatic cannons along with smaller 20 mm Sea Vulcans guns. These purely gun armed boats were cited for not being effective against ACVs, military sources said.