South Korea has begun the construction of its 14,500-ton amphibious landing ship to be used by the country's Navy.
Scheduled to be launched in April next year, a keel-laying ceremony of the second Dokdo-class ship will be today at the shipyard of Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Co. in Busan, according to the state arms procurement agency Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).
This 199.4 meters long and 31 meters wide ship will be delivered to the Navy in 2020 after a trial operation, Yonhap reports. It would mark the first time for the country to build such a major transport ship for its military in a decade.
The Navy has a Dokdo-class amphibious assault ship, named LP-X Dokdo, in operation.
It's often called a "light aircraft carrier" for its capability to transport helicopters, armored vehicles, trucks, artillery, high-speed ships and other equipment as well as hundreds of troops at a time.
The multi-functional vessel, one of Asia's largest amphibious landing ships, can be used for peacekeeping operations and disaster relief as well.
"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.