The Navy commissioned a large multipurpose transport vessel Tuesday (July 3) after two years of trial operation.
The 14,000-ton Dokdo Ham (ship), named after Korea's easternmost islets in the East Sea, can carry up to 700 troops, seven choppers, six tanks, seven armored vehicles and two small landing boats.
The 199-meter long, 31-meter wide ship, the largest in the South Korean Navy, is equipped with a Phalanx closed-in weapons system for detecting and destroying incoming anti-ship missiles, and a Rolling Airframe Missile guided missile system.
Navy officials said the Dokdo, launched by Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction in 2005, will play a leading role in the Navy's efforts to become a blue-water navy, together with the country's first Aegis warship, Sejong the Great, launched in May.
In fact, the Dokdo can be used for not only military landing operations, but also for United Nations peacekeeping operations and international relief activities.
"It reflects the people's desire for the Navy to faithfully carry out its mission of protecting the national interest in oceans as well as guarding our territorial waters and islands," Vice Adm. Ahn Ki-seok, head of the Navy's operational command said in a speech at a ceremony to mark the commissioning of the ship.
More than 500 sailors attended the ceremony held at the naval port in Jinhae, 410 kilometers southeast of Seoul.
The Navy plans to develop another transport ship of the same class as the Dokdo by 2010.