South Korea’s Navy took delivery of the tank landing ship Nojeokbong on 21 November 2018. The LST, expected to enter service in 2019, is the fourth and final unit of the Cheonwangbong class. Also known as the LST-2 class, these new ships have a top speed of 23 knots and a crew of 120. Each LST is able to transport a loadout that includes 300 troops, eight amphibious landing vehicles, three landing craft, and two tanks. The first ship of the class, the Cheonwangbong, entered service in 2014. She was followed by the Cheonjabong in 2017. A third sister, the Ilchulbong, was delivered in spring 2018. All four ships are 417 feet long with a 64-foot beam and 18-foot draft. Each displaces 4,900 tons and has a flight deck that can accommodate two medium-sized helicopters. The new ships will replace the four-ship Kojoonbong (HDL 4000)-class LSTs that entered service in the 1990s.
By Eric Wertheim