Marines: North Korean Floaters Head South


: February 20, 2011: North Korea has moved about half its 130 Kong Bang hovercraft south, to a port near some disputed islands off nearby South Korea. The Kong Bangs are small hovercraft, with a range of only 250 kilometers, at a speed of about 80 kilometers an hour. The Hong Bangs were based on a 1960s British design, the SRN-6. The Hong Bangs can only carry a platoon (about 30) troops, or even less if they want the hovercraft to go farther or faster. Many of these 18-24 meter (57-73 feet) long hovercraft are over twenty years old. There are three models, the latest one built in the 1990s. The advantage of hovercraft is that they can rapidly cross a beach, and especially marshes found near the coast, and deposit their cargo inland.

Lack of fuel and spare parts limits training for these hovercraft, so any combat use would essentially be with poorly trained and inexperienced crews. Originally intended for delivering commandos quickly, the hovercraft are fast, but noisy and very vulnerable to any kind of gunfire or explosives.




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