South Korea has launched its first combat support ship 'Soyang' which is capable of carrying 1,050 tons of stores that is nearly 2.3 times larger than what can be taken on by existing support vessels.
The new support ship "will further support the Navy's operations at home and abroad," Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Um Hyun-seong was quoted as saying by Yonhap News Agency Tuesday. It has improved load carrying capability and speed, he added.
The 10,000-ton ship was unveiled on Tuesday with a launching ceremony at Hyundai Heavy Industries Co.'s dockyard in Ulsan. The ship will expand the country's maritime defense capabilities against North Korean threats.
The new combat support vessel will be delivered to the Navy, following sea trials late next year and be operational in the first half of 2018, the Navy said in a statement. After the ship joins the fleet, South Korea's Navy will have four large auxiliary support vessels.
The vessel will be the second-largest ship in the fleet after the 14,500-ton Dokdo landing platform helicopter vessel.
The new vessel is 190 meters from front end to back end. It has a beam of 25 meters and has a top speed of 24 knots (44 km per hour). The ship has a flight deck for helicopters as well as close-in weapons systems and advanced countermeasures to deal with various threats.