Type: Amphibious landing dock (LPD)
Length: 204.5 meters overall, 191.7 meters at waterline
Beam: 28.3 meters
Draught: 7 meters (full load)
Propulsion: CODAD, 4x Samsan S957 diesel engine, 38,000 shp total
Speed: 25 knots
Range: 10,000 nautical miles (18,500 km) at 18 knots
- 29 officers
- 349 enlisted
Sensors and processing systems
- SMART-S air-search radar
- HR-44G short-range air and surface search radar
Electronic warfare and decoys:
- 2x JJ-9 ESM/ECM complex
- 2x JJ-8 ESM radome
- 8x JJ-7 ECM radome
- 2x Baram-2 chaff/flare launcher
- 2x Manhwagyŏng-H torpedo countermeasure launcher
- 2x24 23cm multiple rocket launcher
- 2x GBM-23/5 Bulkkot CIWS
- 1x Y64H24 SAM launcher (24x YDG-61)
- 6x GCh-75 12.7mm HMG
- 800 troops
- 2,000 tons cargo
Boats, side davits:
- 4x Plan 8814 LCVP, or
- 4x RHIB, or
- 4x Plan 8835 fast boat
Boats, well deck:
- 2x Plan 8628 LCAC, or
- 4x Plan 8820 LCU, or
- 8x Plan 8814 LCVP, or
- 28 amphibious vehicles
- 4x Gyundoan-Han GH-28 Ppulsoeori gunship (hangar)
- Space for 4x GH-28 Ppulsoeori in temporary parking on the flight deck
The Hwangtaesan class is a group of landing platform docks built in Menghe during the 2010s. They are designed to supplement tank landing ships of the Plan 870 and Plan 859 classes, serving as the flagships for Marine Infantry amphibious assault units. The Hwangtaesans are the first Menghean amphibious assault ships to feature a well deck capable of accommodating air cushion landing craft, and they lack bow doors for beaching operations, though they can load and unload troops directly via a side ramp in port.
The Hwangtaesan-class amphibious transport ships were designed during the late 2000s, following a breakdown in relations between Menghe and Innominada over the Ummayan Civil War. They were designed to complement short-range landing groups in operations along the Innominadan coast, deploying Marine Infantry brigades deep behind enemy lines to secure critical port infrastructure and divert Innominadan ground units away from the front. This type of operation required greater endurance and speed, as well as the ability to land ground troops on beaches with less favorable terrain.
The Menghean Navy responded to these needs by ordering design work on a landing platform dock capable of deploying ground troops and vehicles via air cushion landing craft (LCACs) or other smaller transport vessels. Two proposals were considered: one with a 63-meter well deck for two LCACs, and one with a 140-meter well deck for four LCACs and additional light craft. Procurement staff selected the former option, as it left much more room for transportable vehicles.
Armament and countermeasures:
Defensive armament consists of two GBM-23/5 Bulkkot CIWS mounts, one forward of the superstructure and one aft of the main radar tower. These are supplemented by a YB-61/24 "Bŏdŭl" missile launcher on top of the superstructure, carrying 24 YDG-61N infrared-guided missiles.
For additional countermeasures, the ships are fitted with two Baram-2 chaff, flare, and decoy launchers to distract incoming anti-ship missiles (asymmetrically on each side of the superstructure) and two Manhwagyŏng torpedo countermeasure launchers (at the aft corners of the superstructure). Additional reloads for these systems are carried in boxes on the upper deck. These are supplemented by an active ECM suite consisting of eight JJ-7 ECM antennas and two JJ-9 combined jammer/receiver units.
In addition to these air defense systems, the Hwangtaesan-class ships carry two H23G2B18 multiple rocket launchers on the forecastle, one on each side of the pedestal for the CIWS mount. These are derived from the launchers used by the H23G1B18 Pokpo land-based multiple rocket launcher, but with an extra row of tubes and a reinforced base. The longest-range rockets in the family have a range of 80 kilometers (43 nautical miles), and a variety of warheads are available, including Chŏl-u submunitions, Buŏng-i submunitions, and guided ground-penetrating warheads. These launchers allow the Hwangtaesan-class to engage land targets on shore in support of a landing operation.
Reload rockets are stored in a magazine inside the ship and hoisted vertically to the deck; fold-down A-frames behind the CIWS mount erect vertically to serve as rocket hoists. Small cranes then assist with the process of manually loading the rockets into the launchers one by one. The process of entirely reloading a launcher takes approximately 30 minutes under ideal drill conditions.
For close-range defense, the Hwangtaesans are each fitted with six GCh-75 12.7mm heavy machine guns: one on each side of the hangar, one on each side of the bridge, and two on the forecastle. These were apparently intended to provide an added layer of protection against light boats when operating near Innominada, particularly after civil unrest in 2014 led to a rise in piracy. After the Innominadan Crisis, Hwangtaesans have frequently been seen at sea with the heavy machine gun mounts empty, though the weapons may still be stored on board.
The powerplant of the Hwangtaesan-class consists of four Samsan S957 diesel engines, each producing 9,500 shaft horsepower, coupled to two propeller shafts in a CODAD arrangement. The exhaust from the forward machinery room is trunked to the port side, and the exhaust from the aft machinery room is trunked to the starboard side, resulting in an asymmetric funnel arrangement. There are also three auxiliary machinery rooms containing generators, ventilation equipment, and emergency pumps. The distribution of the main machinery rooms ensures that the ship can remain operational after one engine room is damaged.
To support airborne delivery of infantry to beachheads, the Hwangtaesan-class features a large hangar capable of accommodating four Gyundoan-Han GH-28 Ppulsoeori helicopters. Usually, the GH-28M land assault variant is used; this has four hardpoints on extended side braces to carry rocket pods and missile launchers, and can transport one reinforced infantry squad. Because of the added hardpoints, this variant requires a wider hangar than the anti-submarine GH-28R/R1.
Aerial photos of the flight deck on Hwangtaesan-class ships shows four painted markings for GH-28 helicopter parking spaces, arranged along the port side aft of the 25-ton crane. Some analysts suggest that these could be used for wartime "overflow parking," allowing an additional four GH-28 helicopters to be carried for short durations on the flight deck itself. This would double the ship's air assault transport capacity, allowing it to deploy two infantry platoons plus supporting arms in a single wave. This assessment was initially considered speculative, but during the Innominadan Crisis the Hanmaesan was observed using extra helicopters on deck, and on exercises in 2019 the Hŭkdusan was filmed carrying four GH-28Ms on deck and four more in the hangar. Because the added helicopters are left exposed to the elements, this double-embarking approach is likely not viable for long-term patrols and peacetime operations, but it could be useful on short-range operations such as an assault on Portcullia launched from Puerto Alegre.
The well deck of the Hwangtaesan-class can carry two Plan 8828 air cushion landing craft (LCACs), four Plan 8820 mechanized landing craft, or eight Plan 8814 LCVPs. The LCAC configuration is most common, as it allows greater speed and more flexibility over the choice of landing zone.
On either side of the superstructure, the Hwangtaesan-class has two crane compartments for small boats, which can be covered by a roll-down door while at sea to reduce radar cross section and provide shelter from the elements. Each of these compartments can hold either a standard rigid inflatable boat, a Plan 8814 LCVP, or a Plan 8835 high-speed landing boat. Though unable to carry even the lighter vehicles aboard the ship, these boats can be used to deploy infantry or reconnaissance units on the shore ahead of a major assault.
Inside the hull, vehicles or other cargo are distributed across three decks: the main vehicle deck in the center, the lower vehicle deck below it, and the upper vehicle deck above it. Typically, heavy vehicles like APCs and MBTs are stored on the main vehicle deck, while the upper and lower decks are loaded with supply trucks and light 4x4 armored vehicles. All three vehicle decks are connected by 18-degree ramps, with an additional ramp linking the upper vehicle deck to the helicopter hangar.
In its typical configuration, the Hwangtaesan-class can carry most ground elements of a Mechanized Marine Battalion, with the exception of the Light Tank Company and one Mechanized Marine Company, which are carried on separate ships. For this configuration, six APCs are pre-loaded onto LCACs in the well deck. Alternatively, if the LCACs are removed and the entire well deck is used for vehicle storage, it is possible to carry an entire Mechanized Marine Battalion aboard the ship, though the non-amphibious supply trucks would have to be brought ashore by landing craft from another vessel. Elements of the brigade's Marine Infantry Battalion are distributed between landing ships, and would be embarked on the helicopters and light landing craft or carried aboard LCACs to bolster the manpower of the initial landing element.
In a "logistics landing ship" configuration, the helicopter hangar and helicopter landing area would be used for additional vehicle storage, allowing most vehicular logistics units of a Marine Infantry Brigade to be carried. The well deck can also be used for additional vehicle storage in this configuration, at the cost of requiring the ship to either call on other landing craft in the formation or dock at a captured pier. Such a configuration could be useful when reinforcing a captured beachhead with supplies, or when delivering humanitarian aid to an overseas disaster zone.
Ships in the class:
The Hwangtaesan-class amphibious transport docks are named for mountains in Menghe. Many share names with heavy cruisers that served in the Pan-Septentrion War.
- RS-870 Hwangtaesan: laid down 2009-04-13, launched 2011-06-22, commissioned 2012-11-26
- RS-871 Madaesan: laid down 2010-08-09, launched 2012-05-14, commissioned 2013-11-06
- RS-872 Hanmaesan: laid down 2011-06-25, launched 2013-02-27, commissioned 2014-08-29
- RS-873 Hŭkdusan: laid down 2012-05-19, launched 2013-12-30, commissioned 2015-05-30
- RS-874 Taegisan: laid down 2013-03-05, launched 2014-08-07, commissioned 2016-01-18
- RS-875 Obongsan: laid down 2014-01-03, launched 2015-06-13, commissioned 2016-12-02
- RS-876 Bulgapsan: laid down 2014-08-10, launched 2016-01-20, commissioned 2017-07-02
- RS-877 Duryusan: laid down 2015-06-15, launched 2016-11-14, commissioned 2018-03-30