South Korea said Friday that it has started construction of an Amphibious landing Ship for the country’s Navy amidst growing tensions with the Northern neighbour.
A keel-laying ceremony for the vessel will be held later in the day at the shipyard of Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Co. Busan, according to the state arms procurement agency.
The vessel is supposed to displace about 14,500 tonnes making it one of the lightest vessel in class worldwide, with only Iwo Jima class comparing in displacement.
The vessel is supposed to be 199.4 meters long and 31 meters wide and is expected to be launched by April next year and become operational by 2020, said the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).
The ship is expected to be a modified Dokdo class Amphibious ship already operational with South Korean Navy which has a air wing complement which can include upto 10 helicopters.
South Korea is considering the purchase of F-35B fighters to operate from its Dokdo-class ships. Nowadays, the LPX operates mainly UH-1H and UH-60P.
“The first Dokdo-class ship is the valuable fruit of South Korea’s resolve for self-defense and the world’s top shipbuilding technology,” Moon Ki-jeong, a senior DAPA official, said.
He added the DAPA will do its best for the success of the second Dokdo-class ship project
Pic credits -DAPA