Korea's second amphibious assault ship commissioned
The Navy on Monday held a commissioning ceremony in the southern port of Jinhae, South Gyeongsang for Korea's second 14,500-ton amphibious assault ship, which will enter service in October, the military said Monday.
Navy Chief of Staff Admiral Boo Suk-jong presided over the ceremony for the Marado, a landing platform helicopter ship, ahead of its planned deployment.
Named after the country's southernmost island, the Marado is South Korea's second large-scale landing platform helicopter ship following the Dokdo, which was deployed in 2007. Both were built by Hanjin Heavy Industries.
The ship’s name follows the Navy’s decision to name its transport ships after the Korea’s eastern, southern, and western-most islands to symbolize the force’s commitment to the country’s maritime defense.
With the building of the Marado, the Navy is one step closer to its goal of building a light aircraft carrier to enter service by the early 2030’s.
The 199-meter-long Marado can sail at a maximum speed of 23 knots (42.5 kilometers or 26.4 miles per hour). It is designed to be manned by 300 crewmembers and hold a maximum of 1,000 troops aboard. In addition to helicopters, the ship can also transport infantry vehicles and up to two hovercraft vessels.
The flight surface is sprayed with urethane, which adds thermostability to the deck to enable it to support vertical takeoff and landing jets, like Harriers. Upgrades to the flight deck also allow the landing and takeoff of U.S.-made Osprey aircraft.
Although these specifications essentially qualify the Marado as a light aircraft carrier, it won't be used as such for now: the UH-1H and UH-60P helicopters currently deployed by the Navy are designed for land‐based operations and lack abilities for ship-borne operations, such as protection against damage from salty breezes, making them difficult to operate on-board continuously.
In the future, the Navy plans to deploy on the Marado the KUH-Amphibious, the sea-based amphibious variant of the Korea Aerospace Industries’ Surion, which is currently under development.
The Marado features significant differences from its predecessor, the Dokdo. The flight deck is adapted to accommodate two V-22 Ospreys, whereas the Dokdo is able to carry only one. Instead of the Thales SMART-L multibeam radar and MW08 surveillance radar, the Marado uses Elta Systems’ multifunction surveillance radar and LIG Nex1’s 3-D air and surface surveillance radar.
Military officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity with the JoongAng Ilbo said that the latest technologies will better detect enemies and control aircraft. The Marado is also equipped with an indigenous ship-based surface-to-air anti-missile system, known as K-SAAM or Haegung – “sea arrow” in Korean – which has a maximum range of 20 kilometers and was developed by LIG-Nex1.
Besides combat missions, the vessel will also be used to support disaster rescue and international peacekeeping operations, the Navy said.
BY MICHAEL LEE [email@example.com],PARK YONG-HAN