back to article Stealth hovercraft armada poised to invade South Korea

North Korea is assembling a powerful fleet of hovercraft to menace the South's northwestern islands, according to the Seoul government. The Chosun Ilbo reports that government sources have said that a large Nork base with berths for 60 "hovercraft and stealth air-cushion warships", under construction at Koampo in Hwanghae …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Graeme Hayes


    Nork - what a crackin' name for a military base. Much better than the unimaginative names the Brits come with !!

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Nork is the El Reg standard abbreviation for 'North Korean'

      However, they did come up with the rather amusingly named 'Taepo Dong' missile.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Even better,

      it's NorKs being supported by airbags (bulgarianism rumoured but not verified). There's almost certainly a stack of puns coming along...

  2. Paul Tomblin

    Didn't I see this?

    Wasn't that a James Bond movie?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No, more like in a documentary

      More likely they just bought a copy of that from the Chinese. PLAN has ordered it which means that a Chinese manufactured clone is guaranteed to be in the works.

    2. lglethal Silver badge

      See they may criticise the West

      But even Kim Jong Il loves our movies... ;)

  3. CaptainHook

    Helicopters and Aircraft

    Just place a bunch of pointy sticks (*1) in the ground with the points facing upwards and sticking out of the mud by 3 inches.

    Hovercraft comes over and tears the skirt to ribbons, you now have 3000 commandos stuck in the middle of a mud flat without having fired a single shot or killed anyone where they can all be taken prisoner.

    I just saved the allies a fortune in operating costs, I think I should get a share of that saving.

    *1: Might need more than just sticks, but the principal is the same. something cheap to make and that will tear a skirt when ridden over, skirt is likely to be kevlar these days so you are probably going to need something very pointy and very strong.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      You got there first

      I was just bout to say - remember the Rommel's Asparagus...

      1. CaptainHook

        damn, prior art

        but I should still get a share of the savings because I didn't know about the the previous use

        1. Code Monkey


          Do you work for SCO perchance?

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Or Hitler's teeth

        designed to stop tanks from rolling ashore in case of an invasion of Scandinavia to end WWII.

    2. TeeCee Gold badge


      Simpler, lower maintenance and waaaaaaay more sexy: Anti-hovercraft ninja units armed with tungsten-carbide-tipped shuriken......

      I suppose that if you wanted a more boringly pedestrian military solution, shelling the fuck out of 'em with ground proximity burst "beehive" flechette rounds would do the job too.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Punji Sticks


    4. Adam Foxton

      What dissolves hovercraft skirts?

      A moat of that would do. Yes they'll float over it, but the spray will dissolve the skirt of the craft next to them.

      Alternatively, how about the same idea but with tar or something else that's only liquid because it's kept hot? If you got that over the hovercraft's nice air-cooled windscreen you'd find they'd stop pretty damn quick. Have a bunch of soldiers armed with hoses pumping the tar at the enemy and you'd have an effective, and fairly cheap, deterrent.

      How about a bubble generator (whether gas tank or pumping air from the surface- even another nuclear plant being used to electrolyse the water) underneath a moat? They drive onto the moat, you start creating bubbles, the water can't support their vehicle and they fall under the water. You can then turn off the bubble machine and roll your own amphibious troops (or land-based using a floating bridge) right across the barrier.

      Or what about saying "sod it, we'll not attack them but we still need defences" and just digging/blasting a 20m deep, 20m wide pit along the border? I'd like to see the NorKs get across that with one of their fancy schmancy hovercraft.

    5. T J

      Pointy Stick Alert

      Yeah pretty much. They were never that viable a weapon which is why you dont see them in use much. But thhis is North Korea and its still under the spell of all that 60s Communist Big Dream (you know, the one where you could train plants to produce better offspring and there was never any corruption in the politburo......)

  4. NoneSuch Silver badge

    Get some UK Gov Bureaucrats involved

    They will reduce the invasion fleet to a squadron of char women with Dysons in three months or less to save money.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    How on earth do you take a bleedin' massive fan together with the engine required to power it, and make the whole shebang stealthy? Whenever I've been remotely near hovercraft, I've required ear plugs. Anyone have any links?

    1. Abremms


      that bit is easy! first, you say "stealth" to the press so that every thing seems more scary, then you just build normal hovercraft because stealth hover craft is a dumb idea. they *may* be able to do something about the radar cross section, i suppose, but you'll still be able to hear them ten miles out.

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov


        Means "freshly painted" in any military.

    2. F111F

      Radar, not Sound

      If parent was making a joke ignore post below, otherwise carry on.

      "Stealth" normally refers to radar detection, which is usually at much greater ranges than sound detection. At 60mph, the reaction time is very short for sound detection (seconds/minutes), compared to a radar detection (minutes/hours) depending on where listening and radar posts are positioned at, how stealthy the Nork craft actually are, etc.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        That explains it!

        Well, I didn't know whether I was making a joke or not ... knowing that I probably didn't know enough to be absolutely certain that I could take the p*ss out of the situation with any authority, I concluded that it was better to ask the answer of someone more knowledgeable on such things than I.

        And lo ... you educated me!

        Radar. Now you would have thought that, after spending two weeks walking in the countryside with an ex-RAF radar engineer, (and hearing the stories that RAF personnel would sit mere metres in front of active scanners peeking at 250,000 watts, [120 watt average power] in the hope of cheap contraception [which didn't work, by the way]) that this would have crossed my mind. But no, this possibility apparently slipped under my own radar.

        I shall go forth and slap my forehead with force.

        1. Anonymous Coward


          Usually stealth these days is the whole gamut of detectability. Stealth aircraft are designed to be quieter and have a lower infra-red signature, as well as the low radar cross-section. The radar cross section is the most important part though.

          How do you make a hovercraft stealthy? Probably just by ducting the fans and then angling the ducting and side walls so they reflect radar up. Some radar reflective paint will help. The nice thing with ducts is that they would make the fans quieter as well.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Re: Stealth

            "How do you make a hovercraft stealthy?"

            Get it to fly below the radar, of course.

        2. Evil Auditor Silver badge


          Well, given enough energy that may work too. But definitely, you get a nice tan (aka bloody awful sunburn-like hurt without the nice tan) from being in front of the radar for too long - at least from those that accompanied the anti-aircraft guns.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re: Radar, not Sound

        "..."Stealth" normally refers to radar detection..."

        Given that hovercraft have large ducted fans, making these stealthy whilst retaining their effectiveness could be a bit tricky. Some of the systems I have worked on had an intense dislike of the ship's own helicopter, due to the fast rotating blades.

    3. Adam Foxton

      Quieter engines?

      Same idea behind getting a big V12 inside your car rather than a little 4-cyl- in normal use (not Top Gearing around a track) you'll find the V12 quieter and smoother.

      So stick a bigger, slower fan on the hovercraft, add in a bigger, smoother engine to get rid of the lawnmower-engine whine that smaller hovercraft have, and design your fans for silence rather than efficiency (it's a relatively short-range military operation; the fuel budget doesn't matter too much so you can use inefficient but quiet designs), et voila! You've got a relatively quiet hovercraft. Stick a kevlar cover over the skirt and you've got a near-bulletproof stealth hovercraft.

      Then make it have a large floor area and a low ceiling, employ some active cooling on the engine exhaust, and paint it black. Radar absorbent paint isn't much of an issue- it doesn't work once encrusted with the layer of muddy water that would undoubtedly cover the craft over even a short journey. I guess they could give it mudflaps or something...

    4. Mediocrates

      Stealth on a budget

      "How on earth do you take a bleedin' massive fan together with the engine required to power it, and make the whole shebang stealthy?"

      Make the engines so lousy that they crap out after a quarter of a mile. Total Silence.

    5. Dr Dan Holdsworth

      Radar stealthy

      All they're saying is that the things don't have any vertical metal sides on 'em or anything else that would make them a really good radar target. Making them out of a composite and painting with radar-absorbent grey-green paint would probably be about all you'd need to do; the whole point of hovercraft is that you have a very fast boat that can also travel over mudflats. The range ain't spectacular, the carrying capacity isn't good, and the thing has to be light so you cannot armour one, but for getting commando-type troops onto a beach fast there's nothing better.

      The best defence is a good number of sentries and some heavy machine guns, together with inland strong points. The Norks will then find most landings opposed, and even if they do stage an invasion, they'll either have to take the strong-points or run very fast past them and hope the troops inside don't chase them.

      In all honesty, the best defence against North Korean troops is a very large banner that reads: "Free South Korean Citizenship to first 500 NK soldiers to surrender".

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does this mean

    That Great Leader will ascend from the heavens and lead and lead Korea's hovercraft forces to defeat the imperialist Americans and their stooges in the South?

  7. Lars Silver badge

    Stop sending them free food

    The soldiers will starve to death, the people is starving anyway.

  8. Frank Bitterlich

    They are so stealthy...

    ... that nobody has ever seen them.

  9. Jolyon Ralph
    Thumb Up

    News broken in February..

    I'm surprised that El Reg are not regular readers of the KPA Journal, which broke this story back in Feburary with lots of interesting pictures and analysis.

  10. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Real estate values must be pretty poor anyway.

    has a diagram showing the disputed cease-fire lines between North Korea and South Korea. Basically a bunch of islands have been in the middle of no-man's-land and in the firing since 1950. I don't think I'd stay there. Mind you, looking at a map of the Falklands (Britain's claim on Antarctica's presumed frozen wealth, oil and such, it wasn't always frozen you know) you feel the same.

    I mean, North Korea, whether you're a fan or not, couldn't ever relax with Southern islands just over there. It's a stupid place to draw the line. shows the location of the hovercraft base.

    It's like bloody D-Day.

    As usual, when these situations are handled by the United Nations, it is a sick joke. This is because there isn't really any such thing as a United Nations, it is Big Nations playing deadly practical jokes on each other and on the rest of us/them, depending on whether you count the United Kingdom as prankster, prankee, or both, at diifferent times - I did mention the Falklands, which was a bit of an apple-pie-bed experience for us UN-wise.

  11. dssf

    Hey, FAE

    FAE might work.

    How about an E-2C with downward-pointing radar? Enough MWs to fry eggs 10' under water. (Yes, I know water attenuates radar, but I doubt a mild-quasi-nuking of the RADAR kind will leave the invasion force woozy as hell and amped up on Dramamine, No-Doze, Viavrin, and some narcotics...) Would atropine help? (Aside from their eyes being gelatinized?)

  12. Ray 8


    more than likely the "hovercraft" are really airbeds with generic fans attached powered by made in China car batteries

  13. unitron

    Packing Peanuts!

    Cover those mudflats with the bio-degradable version of packing peanuts, and re-new as necessary.

    Instant no visibility as soon as a hovercraft crosses.

  14. Adrian Esdaile

    However due to mistranslation of the stolen hovercraft plans...

    it appears that they are full of eels.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    This reminds me of Finnish tech

    Finland had similar plans about a decade ago. Though not fleet of tens of hoover crafts, as Finland is relatively small country. The initiative was scrapped as hoover crafts are like helicopters to aviation. Slow for current fast strike warfare and expensive to maintain. Actually the same company (or spin-off from that), that designed the flow-hull for famous "Russian" MIR subs (made 100% in Finland, BTW) designed the stealth material for the planned hoover craft fleet.

    So yes, concept is proven to work, but utterly expensive to use - in defensive purposes. The best reasons to build such ships would be espionage and invasion plans. As the ships are relatively easy to detect in daylight, invasion troops planning is the most obvious use case.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Important difference

      Between a Hoover and a hovercraft.

      In fact, they are pretty much the opposite in principle.

      Don't get them confused.

      1. Alister


        I have personally used a hoover which hovers, so don't be so quick to damn him :-)

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like