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Posted at 2:30 PM ET, 05/31/2010

South Korea speeds up anti-submarine defenses

By Jeff Stein

Just when it needs them most, South Korea is having mechanical problems with its anti-submarine helicopters, a Seoul newspaper reports, and is accelerating plans to buy new ones.

Jolted by the sinking of one of its ships in March, and with further naval clashes with North Korea possibly in the offing, South Korea is embarking on a muscular build-up of its anti-submarine warfare capability, according to the Korea Times and other sources.

The paper said South Korea has accelerated plans to purchase 20 new anti-submarine helicopters, as “part of efforts to bolster the country's coastal defenses against North Korean incursions.”

“The Navy temporarily suspended its fleet of anti-submarine Lynx helicopters last month after two of the aircraft crashed,” the paper reported late last week. “The service had operated 25 Lynxes for anti-submarine and surface warfare.”

It could not be readily determined whether the Lynx fleet, manufactured by the Anglo-Italian helicopter maker AgustaWestland, was returned to service, in whole, in part, or at all.

“North Korea’s ability to penetrate South Korean waters and sink the Cheonan have forced Seoul to reexamine its defense posture,” Bruce Klingner, a former chief of the CIA’s Korea unit, said by e-mail.

Even before the patrol corvette was sunk by a torpedo, South Korea began deploying the first of eight, U.S.-made P-3 Orion Maritime Reconnaissance Aircraft, refurbished with advanced technology, its navy said in February.

South Korea has also “been working on its coastal defense by building a line of high-tech, high-speed, coastal patrol vessels” -- the guided missile-equipped Patrol Killer fast boats, Terence Roehrig, a Naval War College professor, said. “Three have been built … and they planned to have 20 of these by 2015.”

South Korea is also accelerating the development of its underwater detection capabilities.

Last week the South Korean cabinet approved a $30 million supplementary budget allocation to upgrade ship sonar and deploy additional sensors, according to Klingner and South Korean reports.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials “say they are planning a long-term program to plug major gaps in the South’s naval defenses,” the New York Times reported Monday.

“[T]he critical question is what capacity and deployed resources does the U.S. devote to watching North Korea sub movements in this area,” said Scott Snyder, director of the Center for U.S.-Korea Policy at the Asia Foundation.

“The countermeasures [the Pentagon would add] are striking because they now involve the U.S. to a much greater degree in defending a line that had traditionally been left to South Korea to defend, despite over a decade of sporadic inter-Korean clashes,” Snyder added.

“The anti-sub exercises coming up as early as next month send a message. It will be interesting to see how North Korea responds to this,” he said.

By Jeff Stein  | May 31, 2010; 2:30 PM ET
Categories:  Foreign policy, Intelligence, Military  
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As evidenced last November when a Chinese Song class diesel electric submarine surfaced close to the USS Kitty Hawk in the Pacific during exercises, it isn't all that easy to detect a diesel electric sub running on batteries. Good luck to the South Koreans.

Posted by: TwoCentsWrth | May 31, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

What is reported in news-media-articles is not ways the facts that are being present for the readers. Many times over, the National Security Agency, (Not to be confused with the political correction of the National Security -shoe shine version for readers and T.V. Network News), uses articles to give coded information out, and to affirm information already given, so what is new(s) since WWII. SpyTalk, just an idea that remotely popped into my mind, interesting expression of thoughts.

Population of our planet is critical and shoe-shined as not being critical. The same for resources to feed the ever growing global populations is critical currently, so it appears. The economics of War from within technology in it's proving grounds and the unfortunate outcome of death that modern wars consumes is by nature a need at present to some, and others great suffering.

Currently every global disaster to present in past 20 years, or so, is a cannon fodder catalyst in this psychological global stress that in time may have a global flash point, obviously. N.Korea, Israel, Iran and a few other eventful nations may be considered the flint that ignites into flames. Some global investors consider this needed by their economic standards behind closed doors.

Cultures are different, technologies are different, the way in how people interact maybe slightly different, but the way that homosapients interact never seem to change much as history have shown us, but history is written by the victorious and always different by the defeated, but similar. I believe the super-powers of this world already have a SunTzu that they agree'ed upon to free up critical situations into resolve as we handled 911 exceptionally well. I am certain the proving grounds of future military training exercises on a global scale suffice.

I have confidence in this global community of nations no manner how they present themselves in my perception is more civil then civilizations similar before them and others vanished to the shoe-shines history presented before us, [another end, another beginning, another time].

I support the US.constitution and the American way of life even though I may have zero privacy shoved in my face 24/7 day -n- nite, and for everyone the same. This has my full support. I am only a remote viewer -n- observer in history supporting these changes. I support all policy changes to secure the U.S.border and our National Security. I applaud the Patriot ACT-II, and all other similar and wish we have tougher changes in our near future.

"Life is a box of chocolates for the uninformed, Be Safe, Be Alert, Be Advised".

Shawn Earnest
Madawaska Maine
An Aspiring Fictional Writer.

Posted by: Predator-Hunter | June 1, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

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