Dokdo-class amphibious assault ship

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Dokdo-class amphibious assault ship
ROKS Dokdo (LPH 6111).jpg
ROKS Dokdo moored at Busan in August 2009.
Class overview
Name: Dokdo class
Builders: Hanjin Heavy Industries
Operators:  Republic of Korea Navy
Succeeded by: LPX-II (Planned)[1]
  • KRW 325,770,000,000 (2005)[2]
  • US$ 280 million
Planned: 3
Building: 1
Completed: 1
Active: 1
General characteristics
Type: Landing platform helicopter
Displacement: 14,300 tons (empty) / 19,500 tons (full)
Length: 199 m (652 ft 11 in)
Beam: 31 m (101 ft 8 in)
Draught: 7 m (23 ft 0 in)
  • 23 knots (43 km/h; 26 mph) maximum
  • 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph) cruising
Boats & landing
craft carried:
Capacity: Up to 200 vehicles (including tanks)
Troops: 720 marines
Crew: 330[3]
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • SMART-L air search radar
  • ELM-2248 (MF-STAR) multifunction surveillance radar
  • MW08 surface search radar
  • LIG Nex1 SPS-550K
  • AN/SPS-95K navigation radar
  • VAMPIR-MB optronic sight
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
ESM/ECM:SLQ-200(v)5K SONATA, Chaff launcher
Aircraft carried:
Aviation facilities: Flight deck with 5 landing spots and hangar

The Dokdo-class amphibious assault ship (Hangul: 독도급 강습상륙함, Hanja: 獨島級強襲上陸艦) is a class of landing platform helicopter (LPH) amphibious assault ships operated by the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN). Designed by Hanjin Heavy Industries (HHIC), the requirements for the amphibious landing ships were to enhance South Korea's current amphibious operation capability, both in terms of assault and military operations other than war (MOOTW) type operations.


The ROK Navy required a versatile landing ship with amphibious capabilities in its program to build a blue-water navy. In the end Hanjin's Dokdo design was chosen for this need. The Solgae-class LCAC—also built by HHIC— was chosen as the landing craft air cushion (LCAC) to operate from the ship.[5]


A US Navy MH-60S landing on the flight deck of Dokdo.

The LPX is an amphibious warfare ship which includes a well deck to accommodate amphibious assault vehicles (AAVs) and two LCAC, the first of which (LSF 631) was acquired in April 2007. The ship is 199 metres (652 ft 11 in) long, 31 metres (101 ft 8 in) wide, with a 14,000-ton (empty), or 18,000-ton (full) displacement and was built incorporating stealth technologies. It has been said to be one of the most advanced vessels in the Asian Pacific.[5]

As a high-speed amphibious ship, the LPX was based on the concept of "over-the-horizon assault." As the name indicates, the "over-the-horizon assault" comprises a military operation in which an amphibious landing is conducted with high-speed air-cushioned vehicles and helicopters from beyond the horizon, where they cannot be easily detected or attacked by the enemy. The conventional landing ship tank (LST) has to approach the coastline for landing, at the risk of being fired upon by the enemy.

The LPX can carry 720 marines (+300 crew members), 10 tanks, 10 trucks, 7 AAVs, three field artillery pieces, and two LCAC hovercraft capable of landing on enemy shores doing 40 knots (74 km/h; 46 mph)—a mix that enables it to launch troop landings from both sea and air. She can also carry 10 helicopters when there are no ground vehicles on her hangar deck.[6]

The flight surface is also sprayed with urethane, which can support VTOL jets, like Harriers. South Korea is considering the purchase of F-35B fighters to operate from its Dokdo-class ships.[7] Currently, the LPX operates mainly UH-1H and UH-60P. However, both of these 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.[8] The KUH-Amphibious, the sea-based amphibious variant of the KAI Surion, is now under development. Production is planned to commence in late 2015 with some 40 helicopters planned.[9]

Self-defense armament includes the RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile system. The Goalkeeper close-in weapon system (CIWS) was purchased in January 2003 from Thales, at a per-set price of 13,000,000,000 won (roughly $15,000,000).

The second ship of the class, Marado, was built with some changes compared to Dokdo. The flight deck is adapted to accommodate two V-22 Ospreys, while Dokdo was able to only carry one. In place of the Thales SMART-L multibeam radar and MW08 surveillance radar, Marado uses the Elta Systems EL/M-2248 MF-STAR multifunction surveillance radar and LIG Nex1 SPS-550K 3-D air and surface surveillance radar. It also has a different weapons suite than the 30 mm Goalkeeper and RAM, instead using two 20 mm Phalanx CIWS and having a K-VLS at the rear of the superstructure for the locally developed K-SAAM.[10][11][12]

Dokdo is similar in size to the light aircraft carriers derived from the Sea Control Ship such as the Spanish Navy's former aircraft carrier Príncipe de Asturias and the Royal Thai Navy's Chakri Naruebet.

Ships in the class[edit]

Name Pennant number Builder Launched Commissioned Decommissioned Status
ROKS Dokdo LPH-6111 Hanjin Heavy Industries 12 July 2005 3 July 2007 Active
ROKS Marado LPH-6112 Hanjin Heavy Industries 14 May 2018 2020 Sea trials[13]


Dokdo conducts well deck operations with a US Navy LCAC.
Dokdo assisting search and rescue after the sinking of ROKS Cheonan.

Some proposed uses for the ship include UN peacekeeping operations and disaster relief. For this reason, the LP-X is expected to usher in a new era of expanded South Korean naval activity, since it can be used for relief, transport, and other peacetime activities.

The Korean news agency Yonhap reported in December 2017 that the Korean military was considering operating F-35B aircraft from the Dokdo-class amphibious assault ships.[14][15]

First steps to a blue water navy[edit]

In a speech delivered in March 2001, Kim Dae Jung stated that his administration was aiming to build a navy that "will defend the national interests in the five oceans and perform a role in defending world peace." By the year 2020, the ROK Navy plans to deploy two or three rapid response fleets, each comprising 1 Dokdo class, 2 Sejong the Great class, 4 Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin class, 1 Gwanggaeto the Great class, and possibly a number of Incheon-class frigates and two or three Type 214 submarines.

ROK Navy's Rapid Response Fleet:


  1. ^ 김귀근 (2019-08-14). "국방중기계획, 軍핵심능력 확보주력…EMP탄 개발·정찰위성 배치". 연합뉴스 (in Korean). Retrieved 2020-11-15.
  2. ^ "Cost of Republic of Korea Armed Forces Weapons". Archived from the original on 2017-06-28. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
  3. ^ "Dokdo Class Landing Platform Helicopter (LPH)". Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  4. ^ "Dokdo Class Landing Platform Helicopter (LPH)". Naval Technology. July 2005. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction (HHIC) - LPH Landing Ship (Dokdo) & LSF II Assault Hovercraft". YouTube. 2010-02-17. Retrieved 2013-09-03.
  6. ^ Yoshifuru Otsuka (December 2012). "Amphibious forces of China, Taiwan and South Korea". Ships of the World (in Japanese) (770): 76–81.
  7. ^ Yeo, Mike (28 December 2017). "Japan, South Korea may refit naval ships for F-35 fighters".
  8. ^ 김성만 (2011-10-08). 독도함은 날고 싶다 (in Korean). Retrieved 2013-05-09.
  9. ^ "KAI to develop amphibious assault variant of Surion". 18 April 2013.
  10. ^ Rahmat, Ridzwan (16 May 2018). "South Korea selects mix of local, Israeli sensors for second Dokdo-class helicopter carrier". Jane's Information Group. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  11. ^ "South Korea changes mission for its newly launched assault ship". Defense News. 21 May 2018.
  12. ^ Rahmat, Ridzwan (30 May 2018). "South Korea to deploy K-SAAM on second Dokdo class". Jane's Information Group. Archived from the original on 28 May 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  13. ^ "South Korea's second Dokdo-class helicopter carrier begins sea trials | Jane's 360".
  14. ^ "S. Korea's military mulls operating F-35B stealth aircraft aboard new amphibious assault ship". Yonhap News Agency. Seoul. 25 December 2017. Archived from the original on 27 December 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  15. ^ Sisk, Richard (27 December 2017). "South Korea, Japan Mull F-35Bs for Amphibious Assault Ships". Archived from the original on 27 December 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2017.

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