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South Korea launches second amphibious assault ship

Mattis, South Korean Defense Minister Meet in Hawaii. (Department of Defense/YouTube)

South Korea’s Navy on Monday celebrated the launch of its second amphibious assault vessel, pledging to ratchet up efforts to defend against maritime challenges in surrounding waters.

Named after South Korea’s southernmost island, the 14,500-ton Marado vessel made its first public debut at the shipyard of Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Co., a shipbuilder located in Yeongdo, Busan.

Defense Minister Song Young-moo hosted the launch ceremony, which was attended by top military brass including Adm. Um Hyun-seong, chief of naval operations.

“Our commitment to protecting our peoples’ lives and territory won’t change under any circumstances,” Song said during the ceremony. “The ship will help us protect our sovereign rights in the seas, an arena for cooperation and competition.”

The Navy said the ship’s name epitomizes its commitment to defending waters south of the Korean Peninsula and maritime transportation routes. It will assume various missions, including disaster relief and rescue operations.

The 14,500-ton Marado is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in late 2020, becoming the second transport ship after the Dokdo of the same class, according to the Navy and the Defense Acquisition Program Administration.

“The Marado is basically similar to the Dokdo, but equipped with improved equipment and an improved system,” a DAPA official told The Korea Herald, requesting anonymity, citing official rules.

The Marado will be equipped with a more advanced radar and combat system developed by South Korea, such as an anti-air radar system and anti-ship missile defense, according to the Navy and DAPA.

The Marado vessel is capable of carrying up to 1,000 troops, armored vehicles, tanks and other heavy military equipment. It can also mount high-speed amphibious boats and helicopters.

Promulgated as LPH-6112, the Marado is 199 meters long and 31 meters wide and can travel at a maximum speed of 23 knots (some 41 kph) with some 300 crew members aboard, the military added.

“The Marado vessel reflects the development of South Korean military technology. By using South Korean technology for most of the ship’s equipment, we also can expect a reduction in maintenance costs,” the Navy and DAPA said in a statement.

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© 2018 the Asia News Network (Hamburg, Germany)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.