Taiwan launched the first of a new 10,000-ton class of multimission amphibious ships Yu Shan at the shipyard of the state-owned shipbuilder CSBC Corporation in Kaohsiung port city on Tuesday.

This ship will be delivered to the Navy in 2022.

Previously released specifications for the landing platform dock (LPD) indicate that the ship displaces 10,600 tons when fully loaded and measures 152m with a hull draught of 6m. Top speed of the LPD is said to be 21 knots with a range of 11,200km. The vessels of this class can conduct surface warfare missions with anti-ship missions.

Yu Shan can accommodate up to 673 troops and its vehicle deck can carry AAV7 tracked amphibious vehicles, among other land platforms. The ship also has a twin hangar sized for Sikorsky Seahawk and Black Hawk helicopters as well as a single flight deck spot to conduct helicopter operations. A well dock is incorporated in the design to stow, launch and recover landing craft.

Unusually for an LPD, the Yu Shan is fitted with a pair of missile launchers believed to be capable of holding 8 indigenous Hsiung Feng II anti-ship or 16 Hai Chien naval surface-to-air missiles, giving the ship a combat capability. It is also armed with a single 76mm multipurpose gun and a pair of Phalanx close-in weapon systems; the latter is for defense against missile threats, Defense News reported.

China’s PLA Eastern Theatre Command Navy also operates an amphibious ship named Yushan. It also has a number of Type 071s, a type of amphibious landing ship that displaces about twice as much as Taiwan navy’s Yu Shan.

On Monday, the Chinese military conducted an exercise near Taiwan with the largest number of warplanes ever recorded.

Song Zhongping, a Chinese mainland military expert told the Global Times that the “exercise could be a rehearsal of its combat plan over the Taiwan island, and it could feature air superiority seizure, and attack on land and maritime targets, including warships of interfering foreign countries.”

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