The Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) welcomed the addition of two state-of-the-art landing craft air cushion (LCAC) vessels on 1 June. Known as LSF-IIs in South Korea, these cutting-edge ships were delivered by Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction (HHIC) at its Yeongdo shipyard in Busan on 14 December 2021, following a lucrative contract worth KRW152.4 billion ($126 million) finalized in 2016. The newly acquired Solgae-class vessels, named ‘LSF-633’ and ‘LSF-635’, boast impressive dimensions of approximately 28 meters in length and 14 meters in width. The arrival of the Solgae-class LCAC vessels marks a significant milestone for the Republic of Korea Navy, enhancing their capabilities in amphibious operations and further solidifying their position as a formidable maritime force.
The Solgae-class LCAC, alternatively referred to as the Solgae 631 class, has been specifically designed for the Republic of Korea Navy and is constructed to operate in conjunction with the ROKS Dokdo and the forthcoming Dokdo-class amphibious assault ships. During the development phase, the project was known as LSF-II or Landing Ship Fast – II. Powered by gas turbines, they are capable of remarkable speeds of 40 knots, with a full load displacement of 157 tons, including a payload capacity of 55 tons. Moreover, their impressive climbing capability of up to 6 degrees further enhances their operational versatility. For self-defense purposes, each vessel is armed with 20 mm cannons. The crew cockpit accommodates three crew members as well as a landing-force commander. The LCAC can also accommodate a main battle tank or two amphibious assault vehicles, further expanding its functionality.
Following the acquisition of LSF-633 and 635, the Korean Navy will expand its fleet to include a total of nine LSFs, consisting of three LSF-I-class ships and six LSF-II-class ships. The LSF-I class vessels have the capacity to transport either 130 fully equipped troops or two tanks simultaneously, and they are currently employed by the 27th Combat Battalion under the Incheon Naval Sector Defense Command. As for the LSF-II class, the initial two ships are part of the 5th Component Flotilla Five within the Republic of Korean Navy. Moreover, the first four ships of the LSF-II 2nd project will be loaded onto the Dokdo-class LPH-6111 and 6112 vessels of the Korean Navy, which will be utilized for operations such as guarding low-water areas or conducting landing force missions. Additionally, the ROK Navy has announced plans to construct four additional landing craft, which will enhance transport capabilities and facilitate easier operation and maintenance.
The Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) is currently constructing the follow-on units of Landing Ship Fast-II (LSF-II) No. 5 to No. 8. Prior to this, several ships have already been delivered, including LSF-I No. 1 (Solgae-621) in 2005, LSF-I No. 2 (Solgae-622) in 2006, LSF-I No. 3 (Solgae-623) in 2007, LSF-II (First project) No. 1 and 2 (Solgae-631/632) in 2007, and LSF-II (Second Project) No. 1 and 2 (Solgae-631/632) also in 2007. Furthermore, LSF-II (Second Project) Nos. 3 to 4 (Solgae-633/635) were delivered on June 1, 2023, while LSF-II (Second project) No. 5 to No. 8 are currently under construction.