Amphibious assault ship, the Marado, makes debut
Defense Minister Song Young-moo hosted a launch ceremony for the Marado 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, cut the rope tethering the vessel with a hand axe in a symbolic tradition for the ceremonial launch of a naval ship.
At the ceremony, Song voiced hopes that the new ship will serve to safeguard maritime security in Northeast Asia and beyond.
“In order to preserve our maritime sovereignty at sea, which is an arena for both competition and cooperation, and to confidently play a role as a member of the international community, we have to move farther towards greater oceans,” Song said.
“I am convinced that the ship, Marado, will bring honor to the Republic of Korea by contributing to Northeast Asian and global maritime security,” he added.
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 with some 300 crew members aboard.
The Marado, 199 meters long (653 feet) and 31 meters 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 Adm. Um Hyun-seong, Marine Corps Commandant Lt. Gen. 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.