Navy's Anti-Piracy Units Get Better Equipment

The Defense Ministry has reinforced the equipment and training of the Navy's units in charge of defending global oceans from pirates after they successfully rescued a Korean freighter from Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden in January last year.

The Navy has now supplied UDT/SEALs with a device that shoots a projectile attached to a rope at the upper deck or a protruding part of the vessel, making it easier for commandoes to board. In the past, the Navy's special forces only had rope guns, which made climbing arduous.

During the Somali pirate operation, commandos approached the freighter by inflatable and used a folding ladder to climb the ship.

UDT/SEALs train with the German HK416 rifle. /Courtesy of Navy UDT/SEALs train with the German HK416 rifle. /Courtesy of Navy

The UDT/SEALs will also use new German-made HK416 rifles, which have an effective range of 350-400 m and are capable of firing up to 700 rounds per minute. They have also been supplied with portable reconnaissance endoscopes that allow them to look inside ship compartments.

The windshields of the Lynx helicopters on the destroyers of the Cheonghae Unit was replaced with bulletproof glass, and the body reinforced with bulletproof steel plate.

Combat training was also stepped up. "All UDT/SEALs deployed at the Cheonghae Unit are counterterrorism experts," a Navy officer said. "For three months before they leave for the Gulf of Aden, they practice subduing pirates with rifle and sniper training and firing shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles using a mock freighter as a target."

"Thanks to the successful mission in the Gulf of Aden, the number of recruiting applications for the Navy UDT/SEAL has more than doubled, and the status of our country's special forces has risen overseas," the officer added.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jan. 16, 2012 13:44 KST