Kaohsiung, Taiwan (GDC) — The launch of Taiwan’s first domestically made landing platform dock (LPD) marks a milestone in the country’s shipbuilding history and will significantly boost the Navy’s capability, President Tsai Ing-wen said Tuesday.
At the launch ceremony in Kaohsiung, Tsai said the amphibious transport dock, named “Yu Shan” after Taiwan’s highest peak, is also the Navy’s first LPD in the 10,000-ton category.
With the imminent deployment of the LPD, the nation’s defense capabilities will be boosted, as the Navy’s operations will be enhanced, the president said at the ceremony, which was held at the Kaohsiung shipyard of the shipbuilder CSBC Corporation.
According to the Navy, CSBC won the bid in April 2018 to build an LPD prototype at a cost of NT$4.6 billion (US$162 million).
The prototype is expected to be put into service in the first half of 2022, replacing the Navy’s only amphibious transport dock, the ROCS Hsu Hai, which has been in service for 50 years and was formerly named the USS Pensacola.
The new ship will be used to support amphibious operations and transport missions, and it will serve as a hospital ship and vessel for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions in peacetime.
Military sources told CNA that the dock will be fitted with an MK-75 76mm gun, two MK-15 Phalanx close-in weapons systems, and two TC-2N radar guided surface-to-air mid-range missiles.
The dock will also be able to support various landing craft, AAV-7 amphibious assault vehicles, and two helicopters with a maximum load of 673 people, the sources added.
According to CSBC Chairman Cheng Wen-lon, the 10,600-ton LDP is 153 meters long and 23 meters wide.
Su Tzu-yun, a senior analyst at the government-funded Institute for National Defense and Security Research, told CNA that the Navy had been using decommissioned American-made LDPs but because of their age, the maintenance costs were high.
Taiwan, therefore, decided to build its own LDP, as its shipbuilding industry is more than capable of doing so, he said.
The construction of the LDP is part of Taiwan’s ongoing efforts to expand its indigenous defense capacity by building its own military aircraft, ships, and submarines, an initiative that started after President Tsai took office in May 2016.
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