Korea to Boost Naval Defenses

      October 19, 2010 09:47

      South Korea and the U.S. will stage joint anti-submarine exercises twice a year from next year, one each in the East and West Seas.

      Adm. Kim Sung-chan, the chief of naval operations, made the announcement in a parliamentary audit of Navy Headquarters on the destroyer Dokdo at Pyeongtaek Port, Gyeonggi Province on Monday.

      The Navy will also boost anti-sub drills during regular joint South Korea-U.S. military exercises, and 12 Korean ships will be fitted with a joint command and control system that allows Korean forces access to worldwide military intelligence from U.S. naval vessels.

      Members of the National Assembly's Defense Committee look at the severed section of the Navy corvette Cheonan displayed at the headquarters of the Second Fleet Command in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province ahead of a parliamentary audit on Monday. /Courtesy of the Navy

      To increase the efficiency of anti-sub operations in the West Sea, the Navy has moved the flight limit line for P-3C maritime patrol aircraft 27.8 km further toward the Northern Limit Line, the de facto maritime border, in the air over the West Sea. It has also installed fish detectors at about 30 high-speed boats of the Second Fleet Command and replaced the sonar on some dozen destroyers, frigates and patrol ships.

      The Navy will also procure a dozen rigid-hulled inflatable boats for coastal underwater searches by 2012 and build anti-sub training ranges for the First and Second Fleet Commands by 2014.

      The number of 214-class 1,800-ton subs will be increased from the current three to nine by 2018, and about nine 3,000-ton next-generation subs are to be procured after 2020. Some 20 2,300-ton future frigates will replace superannuated frigates and corvettes of the same type as the Cheonan, which was sunk by North Korea in March, after 2012.

      He added a 14,500-ton landing ship the same size as the Dokdo amphibious assault ship, which can be remodeled as a light aircraft carrier within six months, will be built by 2018.

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