Sure, hovercraft are cool, but they’re not exactly the cutting edge of military technology, nor the most versatile vehicles in the world. Most navies only use them for niche missions.
But when your country is flat broke, starving and stuck with 1970s hardware, sometimes a little creativity is the only way to retain a military advantage. That might explain why the cash-strapped North Korean military is building a customized base for huge numbers of assault hovercraft, around 50 miles from a vulnerable South Korean island chain.
In any event, Pyongyang’s forward-deployed hovercraft force could represent a real threat against an unprepared South Korea — maybe. The new Japan Security Watch blog has all the details.
The new base, in the Koampo area of Hwanghae Province on the Korean Peninsula’s western coast, can accommodate up to 70 of North Korea’s estimated 130 Kongbang-class hovercraft, armed with guns and together capable of carrying more than 2,000 soldiers. From Koampo, it’s just an hourlong ride — at hovercraft speeds — to the West Islands.