In April of 2021, Taiwanese shipbuilder CSBC Corporation launched the first of four expected Yushan-class Landing Platform Dock (LPD) warships to help strengthen the Republic of China Navy (RoCN) inventory amidst a backdrop of growing Chinese intimidation. The local shipbuilder, awarded the contract in April of 2018, began construction on the new type during May of 2019 and launched the hull to sea on April 13th, 2021 from Kaohsiung by way of ceremony. The vessel represents the first LPD type warship to be designed, developed, and completed by Taiwan as the island nation moves to become more and more independent in its defense-minded solutions.
The RoCN is expected to take the vessel into service in 2022. The lead ship carries the name Yu Shan and pennant number "1401" and will immediately succeed the aging RoCS Hsu Hai, formerly the USS Pensacola received from the United States Navy in1999. The Yu Shan name is taken from the island's highest mountain.
As built, the warship has been given an overall length of 501.9 feet (153 meters) and a beam measuring 75.5 feet (23 meters). Displacing 11,025 tons (10,000 tonnes), it carries the usual assortment of modern sensors and processing systems including bow-mounted sonar. Weaponry includes a pair of anti-aircraft TC-2N radar-guided Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) launchers for point defense against inbound aerial threats, a 76mm Mk.74 autocannon, 2 x 20mm Mk 15 Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWSs). Onboard propulsion and fuel stores allow the ship to reach out to 7,000 miles.
The hull of the ship includes low profile smoke funnels, reduced external protrusions, slab sides (blended hull-deck line), and enclosed masts - all providing a level of stealth and following features proving common to modern warships around the globe. A helipad / hangar facility is built into the stern section of the hull while large loading/off loading doors are seen along the sides of the warship.
Beyond its inherent amphibious assault support capabilities, Yu Shan is also being touted for its ability to take part in humanitarian operations as there is broad onboard support of facilities related to the role. In its given military role, however, the warship can take on a complete loadout of 670 to 675 military personnel as well as associated attack / transport helicopters, AAV-7 amphibious assault vehicles, and shore-bound landing craft - this serving to "bring the fight to the enemy".
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