South Korea plans to create an elite marine aviation unit in a move to bolster its forces near the Yellow Sea border with North Korea, a Defence Ministry spokesman has said.

“We have 11 helicopter pilots to aid the marine corps’ operations, but now we are trying to make it bigger to create a whole aviation squadron,” the spokesman added.

The new unit will feature 40 helicopters and will begin operations in 2017 or 2018, according to Agency France Presse.

The South Korean military is seeking to boost its current 27,000 marines by several thousand as part of a plan to strengthen forces along its sea border with the North.

About 5,000 marines are deployed near the sea border off the west coast and is expected to deploy an additional 1,200 troops later this year.