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South Korea

Navy and Marine Corps

In 1990 the navy and marine corps remained small forces primarily dedicated to protecting the nation's territorial waters and islands, respectively. There was one large naval base at Chinhae, and seven small naval stations located at Cheju, Inch'on, Mokp'o, Mukho, Pukp'yong-ni, P'ohang, and Pusan. Both the navy and marine corps were subordinate to the chief of naval operations, who was a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The navy, with 35,000 personnel, was organized into three fleet commands and separate commands for aviation, amphibious operations, mine warfare, training, and logistics--all subordinate to the first vice chief of naval operations. The marine corps, with 25,000 personnel, was organized into two divisions and one brigade under the Marine Corps Command. Although part of the navy, marine units often operated under army control.

During the 1980s, the navy's modernization program focused on antisubmarine warfare and the deployment of new types of indigenously produced submarines, frigates, missile-equipped fast attack craft, and patrol boats. Naval vessels deployed with the Eastern, Western, and Southern fleets were equipped with modern sonar equipment, depth charges, and torpedoes to counter more effectively North Korea's growing submarine force (see table 18, Appendix). Two types of United States-produced and one type of French-produced shipborne surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles were used by the navy on its destroyers, frigates, and fast attack craft. United States-produced Harpoon surface-to- surface missiles, with a ninety-kilometer range, were deployed on Gearing-class destroyers, Ulsan-class frigates, and Paegu-class fast attack craft derived from the Ashville-class. Frenchproduced Exocet surface-to-surface missiles, with a seventykilometer range, were employed on Donghae frigates and Kirogiclass fast attack craft. Paegu fast attack craft were equipped with United States-produced Standard surface-to-air missiles.

The Naval Aviation Command and the Naval Amphibious Command operated small fleets of aircraft and landing craft, respectively, to support naval fleet and marine corps operations. Twenty-five Grumman S-2 aircraft, twenty-five Hughes 500-MD helicopters, and ten Bell SA-316 helicopters were shore based. They were deployed for surveillance of surface ships and for antisubmarine warfare.

The marine corps was assigned the defense of the Han River estuary and five northwestern islands located close to North Korea. The Naval Amphibious Command operated fifty-two amphibious craft in support of the marine corps.

Data as of June 1990