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09:33 AM, July 28, 2016
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South Korea's Navy Unveils New Armed Fast Patrol Boat

South Korea's Navy launched a new fast patrol boat in a ceremony held at Busan shipyard on Thursday, to help counter North Korea's hovercraft force along its maritime demarcation line.

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 in a statement.

Navy spokesman told Yonhap news that the new boats will greatly bolster Seoul's ability to defend the tension-prone western maritime sea border with North Korea. The new boat will undergo extensive sea trials before officially joining the fleet in the second half of 2017.

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 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.

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