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Wonsan class MLS

The WONSAN class MLS (Minelayer, Support Ship) is designed to conduct prompt mine laying against enemy threats and blockade. This ship carries a sustained offensive Anti-air, Anti-submarine, Anti-surface operations as an integral member of a combat group at sea. The main mission of this ship is mine laying operations and flag ship for mine warfare. The secondary missions are Anti-surface, Anti-submarine warfare and logistic support for friendly MCM forces.

The MLS is a large armed ship (over 90m) capable of extensive minelaying, but limited to speeds of 30 kts or less. This ship has facilities for command and control of mine warfare ships and boats in a combat environment with limited support capability. Built by the Korea HYUNDAI Heavy Industries in Ulsan.

The ship is 103.8 meters long overall, maximum beam 15 meters and displaces around 3,300 tons. The ship is propelled by 4 SEMT-Pielstick 12 PA 6 diesels engines (CODAG). Machinery can be remotely controlled and monitored at the central control station. The engines drive two shafts through the gearboxes installed.

At the time of the Korean War, North Korea laid a large-scale mine field off the coast of Wonsan to prevent the military operations of the United Nations and the UN forces. Since North Korea had already been hit hard by the Incheon landing, it had to somehow prevent the allied forces from landing at Wonsan Port, just 150km away from Pyongyang. If not, Pyongyang and South Wonsan could not only retreat but also Pyongyang could be surrounded.

According to these judgments, North Korea placed 3,000 or 4000 mines supplied by the Soviet Union off the coast of Wonsan, and this decision succeeded in delaying the original landing operation by one week from October 20, 1950, which was originally planned. Eventually, when the US Army 10th Army mobilized in the landing operation landed on Wonsan, it was after the Third Armed Forces and the Capital Division, which had already advanced to the ground, occupied Wonsan.

The forces mobilized in the Wonsan landing operations wasted time at sea, waiting for the mines to be removed, while the Korean and coalition forces were fighting fiercely with the North Korean forces in the western and eastern fronts. In addition, there were some damage caused by the sinking of several mines in the rush to remove the mines.

The lesson learned at this time was conveyed to the US military and the South Korean leadership, reminding them of the importance of mines. Thanks to this, the name of the first and only Minelayer, Support Ship) (MLS) of the Korean Navy, which was commissioned in 1998, was designated as 'Wonsanham' (MLS-560).

MLS is literally abbreviated as 'Mine Layer Ship' and is interpreted as 'mine laying'. However, Wonsan is not a warship with mines. In fact, mines may be laid using submarines or various ships. At the time of the Korean War, North Korea and the Soviet Union used a barge to lay mines, so no special equipment is needed. The United States used large bombers such as 'B-52' to lay mines, and Korea also uses maritime patrols to lay mines.

Of course, Wonsan can emplace hundreds of feet of mines fast and precisely by using mine installation equipment mounted on the stern as a mine installation, but considering the equipment and missions mounted in Wonsan, it can perform other missions as well. First is a wide flight deck - from the side, one third of the length of the ship is the flight deck. The flight deck of Wonsanham was the widest flight deck in the Navy before the launch of the Dokdo (LPH-6111) landing ship. This is the extent to which the western helicopter, the MH-53 Sea Dragon, can be moved up and down, while the Sea Dragon helicopter is the US Navy's own small helicopter. The reason why such a wide flight deck was installed in the Wonsan ship was because it wanted to have the capability of aerial abatement as well as the ability to attach mines.

However, as the Navy's ammunition helicopter project (AMCM) continues to be postponed, the flight deck of Wonsan remains as an empty deck. But it is expected that it will be helpful for the US naval operations. The fact that the ship was equipped with sonar (sonar) and various mine removal equipment also supports the fact that the original mine is not a simple mine installation.

In the beginning, it was announced that three Wonsan ships would be built, but the project was completed with the construction of Wonsan ship, and the project of introducing the next mine installation (MLS-II) is underway.

Military ships, such as the original minesweeper, are classified as non-combat, but the Wonsan is a military ship with unprecedented power. The weapon of the Wonsan ship is equipped with 76mm Hampo singl barrel, 40mm twin-row guns, and 2 Mk32 3-tall torpedo launchers. The WSA-423 fire control system, the DA-05 long-range air defense radar, and the SPS-95K anti-aircraft radar can be used to detect more than or equal to the frigate. This is compared with the installation of the "Ura Grade" mine installation of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, which is about 1.5 times larger than that of Wonsan, with only one 76mm gun.

The reason why the powerful weapon and radar are installed in the Wonsan ship compared to other ships is because the place where the Wonsan ship is operating is in the middle of the spot where the operation is to be carried out. The Korean naval vessels, like the other nations, are also responsible for removing the ports and waterways when they are sealed by mines, but the mission of removing the mines attached to the landing gear of the landing gear Should be performed. Wonsan is doing such a heavy arsenal because he has to defend and command the wreckage of Jeha in the operation of the battles in front of the enemy.

There was a small stir among officials when the ship was decided to be '560' - the Navy's only ship '0'. It is because the warship that was constructed later than the first ship (MHC-561), which is the domestic No. 1 mine, has a faster ship, but the number '0', which was forbidden, has been used. The Navy did not use the number of '0' because it had a hit rate or a superstition that the operation performance was linked to '0'. A similar example is not used for the number 4, because the sound is the same as the death. Because of this, the ship number of 'Masan Ham', which is the fourth ship of the submarine class, is '955' [rather than 954], and the number 9 of the 9th ship 'Cheongju' goes up to '961' [rather than 960]. However, Wonsan has been writing '560', which is an exceptionally zero term in the sense of 'complete removal of mines'.




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