North Korea is assembling a powerful fleet of hovercraft to menace the South's northwestern islands, according to the Seoul government.
The Chosun Ilbo reports that government sources have said that a large Nork base with berths for 60 "hovercraft and stealth air-cushion warships", under construction at Koampo in Hwanghae province, is almost complete. A hover fleet based there would be in position to mount an attack on Southern islands before the South's military could respond.
Hovercraft would be favoured in such a mission as they could travel across extensive coastal mudflats in the region that would be impassable to ordinary vessels or land units alike. The Chosun Ilbo reports that typical North Korean air-cushion warcraft can travel across mud at better than 60mph, and that the prospective Koampo-based hover flotilla of 60 would be capable of delivering "up to 3,000 commandos for a surprise attack".
Reportedly Seoul will move to counter the Nork hovership menace by basing attack helicopters and strike planes in the area.
Here in Blighty we have a small hovercraft force, also intended for amphibious assault and operated to that end by the landing-craft branch of the Royal Marine Commandos. The green-bereted boatmen have lately taken delivery of a new and innovative catamaran/aircushion combo-craft known as the PACSCAT: none of their vessels have the "stealth" capabilities apparently possessed by the North Korean hover forces, however. ®