Yushan, classified as a landing platform dock, is the largest surface warship of the Republic of China Navy.
The Yushan amphibious ship, LPD-1401, named after the highest mountain on the island of Taiwan, was commissioned on September 30. This is the latest result in the defense force modernization program of leader Tsai Ing-wen. This demonstrates the island’s determination amid the escalation of tensions in the Taiwan Strait as mainland China steps up pressure on the island.
Yushan, classified as a landing platform dock, is the largest surface warship of the Republic of China Navy, with four ships planned. Speaking at the ceremony, Tsai paid special attention to the importance of an independent defense industry and emphasized that the Yushan amphibious ship is the first 10,000-ton heavy warship built by the domestic maritime industry.
“The LPD Yushan can provide supplies and personnel to outlying islands in peacetime, but can also handle disaster relief and medical emergencies, in addition to its missions during wartime,” President Tsai said. Built by Taiwan’s naval shipbuilder China Shipbuilding Corporation, LPD Yu Shan was launched in April 2021, and started the sea trials on July 6, 2022, approximately one year after the launching ceremony. The ship has a total length of 153 meters, an overall beam of 23 meters, a hull draught of 6 meters and a full-load displacement of 10,600 tons. The new LPD can reach a maximum speed of 21.5 knots.
What’s immediately notable is its relatively enormous anti-aircraft firepower, with launch cells for no fewer than 32 medium-range surface-to-air missiles. This is almost certainly the first time an assault ship of this type has packed such a powerful air defense capability. LPD Yu Shan is armed with 32x TC-2N medium-range air defense missiles, a 76mm gun, and two Phalanx CIWS.
The LPD can carry AAV-7 amphibious assault vehicles, landing craft, Hummer vehicles, and 673 soldiers. Yu shan is also capable to carry 5 LCMs for amphibious operations. The main task of the vessel will be amphibious operations: Serve as the main unit in an amphibious task force to carry out amphibious combat missions or perform recovery operations on Taiwan’s outer islands, and serve as a maritime mobile field hospital. Secondary roles include disaster relief and international humanitarian relief.
Yu Shan will replace the ROC Navy’s only operating amphibious transport dock, the ROCS Hsu Hai, which the Taiwan Navy has operated for more than 50 years. Other amphibious warships in Taiwan navy service are all considerably older vessels transferred from the U.S. Navy service. It is not immediately clear what, if any assistance the United States provided to Taiwan while it was developing its new LPD, but there are clearly outward similarities with the San Antonio class, including the enclosed sensor masts, which help reduce radar cross-section.