South Korea to deploy its largest vessel to RIMPAC 2022 -

5 July, Tuesday

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South Korea to deploy its largest vessel to RIMPAC 2022

The Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) announced that it will send its largest vessel, the ROKS Marado, and the ROKS Shin Dol-seok, a Type 214 submarine, to the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) 2022 which begins in late June. It is the first time vessels of this size will be deployed by the ROKN to RIMPAC.

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The ROKS Marado, which has a light and maximum displacement of 15,000 tons and 19,000 tons respectively, is the ROKN’s second Dokdo-class amphibious assault ship. The ship was commissioned in 2021 and has a complement of 330 sailors. According to the ROKN, ROKS Marado will take part in amphibious assault exercises at RIMPAC 2022, marking the first time South Korea’s navy has participated in landing exercises at the multinational level.
The ROKS Shin Dol-seok, which displaces 1,800 tons, will also be the largest submarine ever deployed by the ROKN to RIMPAC. The ROKN had previously only sent Type 209 submarines to the exercise. 
RIMPAC is a multinational maritime exercise hosted by the United States Navy which has been held biannually since 1977. It last took place in 2020, with ten nations and a total of 23 warships taking part. South Korea first participated as an observer in 1988 and became a fully-fledged participant in 1990. RIMPAC 2022 will mark the 17th year of South Korean participation in the exercise. 
ROKS Marado is capable of carrying 720 marines, 6 main battle tanks, 7 Korean Assault Amphibious Vehicles, 2 landing craft air cushions, and a dozen helicopters. Despite its main mission being amphibious assault, the ship is also armed with 4 Korean Vertical Launch System cells that can fire a total of 16 Korean Surface to Air Anti Missiles. 
The ROKS Marado is significantly more capable  than its sister ship, the ROKS Dokdo. To begin with, the V-22 Osprey can takeoff from the former due to improvements made to the flight deck. Moreover, the flight control tower was moved from the front to the rear of the island on the ROKS Marado, giving flight controllers more flexibility. 
Another upgrade made on the ROKS Marado is its reinforced side ramps which can support vehicles of up to 60 tons in weight, more than double the 25 tons of the ROKS Dokdo. The ramps are also wider, at 4.5 m in width, compared to the ROKS Dokdo’s 3.5 m. 
Other systems on board include the SAQ-600K infrared search and track system, the SPS-550K search radar, the MF-STAR anti-air radar, and Phalanx Block 1Bs close-in weapon system.


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