(LEAD) S. Korea's Navy, Marine Corps to join Cobra Gold drills in Thailand
(ATTN: UPDATES with troops' departure in para 2; ADDS more details in para 8)
SEOUL, Feb. 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's Navy and Marine Corps will participate in a multinational humanitarian exercise set to kick off in Thailand later this month, officials said Wednesday.
The Navy's 4,900-ton Ilchulbong landing ship, carrying some 420 personnel, departed for Thailand to join the Cobra Gold exercise slated to take place in 11 regions in the country from Feb. 28 to March 10.
For the exercise led by the Thai and U.S. armed forces, the South Korean military has mobilized six assault amphibious vehicles, two K808 armored vehicles, two K55 self-propelled howitzers and a K77 fire direction center vehicle.
The troops are set to take part in an array of field exercises, including amphibious landing drills with Thai and U.S. troops and special operations training in a jungle environment.
The Cobra Gold drills will also include a command post exercise, humanitarian civil assistance activities and cyber defense training.
"The Cobra Gold exercise will enhance multinational combined operations and overseas civil affairs operations and presents a good opportunity to improve military cooperation with participating countries," Navy Capt. Kim Tae-yeol, head of the South's contingent, was quoted as saying.
Launched in 1982, the annual Cobra Gold exercise focuses on training multinational forces for a range of procedures to stabilize a region embroiled in a virtual armed conflict.
This year's edition will involve troops from seven countries that also include Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore, according to the Navy.
South Korea first took part in it in 2010 after attending it as an observer from 2002 to 2009.
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