According to Defense-aerospace.com, South Korea’s new 14,500-ton amphibious assault ship made its public debut Monday, May 14, 2018, boasting improved combat and radar systems using the country’s own technology, the state arms agency said.
Defense Minister Song Young-moo plans to host the launch ceremony for the Marado ship at the shipyard of Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Co. in Busan in the afternoon, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).
The minister’s wife Koo Ja-jeong is scheduled to cut the rope tethering the vessel with a hand axe in a symbolic tradition for the ceremonial launch of a naval ship.
Named after the nation’s southernmost island, it will be the South Korean Navy’s second large-scale transport ship after the Dokdo of the same class.
It can sail at a maximum speed of 23 knots/26.5 mph/41 km/h with some 300 crew members aboard.
The Marado, 199 meters/653 feet long and 31 meters/102 feet wide, is capable of carrying more than 700 troops, armored vehicles, high-speed amphibious boats and helicopters.
Code-named LPH-6112, the Marado is also equipped with advanced radar and combat devices, including anti-ship guided missiles produced by South Korea, according to the DAPA. It has a 20-mm Phalanx close-in weapons system as well, while the Dokdo is installed with the 30-mm Goalkeeper gun. LPH stands for landing platform helicopter.
The Marado will be delivered to the Navy in late 2020 after trial operations, the DAPA said. Besides combat missions, the vessel will be used to support disaster rescue or international peacekeeping operations, it added.
Also attending the ceremony are Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Um Hyun-seong, Marine Corps Commandant Lieutenant General Jun Jin-goo and around 200 other dignitaries.
Two South Korean civilians – Sohn Yang-young and Lee Kyung-pil – will join the event. They were born on the Meredith Victory, a U.S. ship used in the 1950 evacuation of more than 14,000 war refugees in Korea.