16 November 2009
The 'Hyango Bong' is similar to 'KD Sri Inderapura' (photo : RoKNavy)
THE Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) is set to replace the gutted KD Sri Inderapura with a similar amphibiousship from the South Korean Navy.
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told Malay Mail last Wednesday that the ship was expected to join the RMN fleet by next year.
Asked on the financial implications of the deal, Ahmad Zahid said since it was a loan agreement, there was no fi nancial implications to the government.
He said he had discussed the matter with the South Korean prime minister and defence minister during his official visit to Korea for the Seoul International Aerospace and Defence Show 2009 on Oct 20.
“The deal is a sign of the close friendship and relations between Malaysia and South Korea,” said Ahmad Zahid.
He said the vessel would also relieve the burden currently shouldered by two RMN transport ships — KD Mahawangsa and KD Inderasakti.
He, however, could not provide the actual vessel to be loaned to the RMN but said it was a Landing Ship Tank (LST), that was similar to KD Inderapura.
Checks by Malay Mail on the South Korean Navy website revealed that the service operated only one type of LST, the Kojoon Bong-class.
Five of the LSTs remain in service with the South Korean Navy. They were built from 1991 to 2002 at the Korean Tacoma shipyard, the same facility that built the Mahawangsa.
The Kojoon Bong-class LST is 113 metres in length and powered by two diesel engines that give it a maximum speed of 16 knots (30km/h).
The ship can carry up to 700 troops and four landing craft. The ship is armed with two twinbarrel 40mm guns and two 20mm guns.