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Military conducts anti-N. Korean hovercraft drill near sea border

All Headlines 16:42 April 06, 2016

SEOUL, April 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korea used two Cobra gunships to conduct a live-fire exercise on Wednesday intended to counter attacks by North Korean hovercraft near the maritime border, an Army official said.

It was the first military exercise near the border that mobilized Cobra (AH-1S) helicopters since the Army deployed them to the frontline island of Baengnyeong in the West Sea right after the North sank a South Korean naval vessel and shelled the border island of Yeonpyeong in 2010.

The latest military drill was carried out amid growing concerns that Pyongyang could provoke a fight in the sea border area using various amphibious vehicles.

For more than a month, North Korea has engaged in a saber-rattling campaign in protest of joint South Korea-U.S. military exercises that run from March to April.

In its latest threats made on Tuesday, the North released a computer graphic video of the bombing of South Korea's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae and other government institutions.

The chief commander of the South Korean Army's Aviation Operations Command, Maj. Gen. Jang Kwang-hyun, oversaw the exercise involving simulated attacks by North Korean air-cushion vehicles, according to military sources.

The Cobra helicopters fired around 10 2.75-millimeter rockets and hundreds of Vulcan automatic cannon rounds at the mock enemy, the official said.

"It was the first Cobra chopper live-fire exercise on Baengnyeong Island," he said. "The drill was intended to prepare against a possible sudden invasion by the North Korean military against the five frontline islands in the West Sea."

The five Seohae islands are Baengnyeong, Daecheong, Socheong, Yeonpyeong and Udo.

North Korea operates a large scale naval base some 60 kilometers north of the Northern Limit Line in the West Sea, the de facto maritime border, from which some 70 hovercraft could be launched, according to officials.

pbr@yna.co.kr
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