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ROK Navy Launches New Warship Capable of Hitting Targets Inside North Korea

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ROK Navy Launches New Warship Capable of Hitting Targets Inside North Korea

The new ship will be commissioned by the end of 2018.

ROK Navy Launches New Warship Capable of Hitting Targets Inside North Korea
Credit: Wikimedia Commons/ROK Armed Forces

At the beginning of June, the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy has launched its first improved Incheon-class guided-missile frigate, known as Future Frigate eXperimental (FFX) II during development, The Korea Times reports.

The launching ceremony of the 2,800-ton (3,600-ton full load) frigate Daegu took place on June 2 at the Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) shipyard–the ship’s primary contractor–on Geoje Island, 470 kilometers southeast of Seoul.

The Daegu is the first out of six to nine FFX-II ships to be built by DSME in the years ahead. The ROK Navy is slated to receive the new vessel after extensive builder’s trials at the end of 2017 with a commissioning date set for late 2018.

The ROK Navy currently operates five regular 2,300-ton Incheon-class frigates (FFX-I), with the last FFX-I ship to be commissioned by the end of the 2016. All subsequent Incheon-class vessels inducted into the South Korean Navy will be improved FFX-II types.

Next to its larger size, the improved Incheon-class vessel will be fitted with a new hybrid propulsion system consisting of a Rolls-Royce MT30 turbine engine and four diesel generators, which makes it both more fuel efficient and faster in a combat environment. The frigate is capable of reaching a top speed of 30 knots (55.6 kilometers per hour).

The Daegu’s armament consists of a 27 millimeter Mk 45 Mod 4 naval gun and one, six-barreled, 20 millimeter Raytheon Phalanx close-in weapon system for defense against incoming anti-ship missiles, as well as six 324 millimeter torpedo tubes capable of launching K745 Chung Sang Eo (Blue Shark) light anti-submarine torpedoes.

One of the most interesting new features aboard the Daegu is a 16-cell K-VLS Korean-made Vertical Launch System that can launch indigenous Cheolmae-2 medium-range air defense missiles, vertically-launched anti-submarine missiles, as well as long-range land-attack Haeseong-II cruise missiles, specifically designed to hit ballistic missile launching pads in North Korea.

Developed by the state-run Agency for Defense Development (ADD), the Haeseong-II cruise missile has an estimated range of 500 kilometers (310 miles).

The ship could also accommodate the latest variants of the Hyunmoo-3 long-range all weather subsonic cruise missile, the Hyunmoo-3B and Hyunmoo-3C with estimated ranges of 1,000 and 1,500 kilometers respectively.

Furthermore, the Daegu features a larger hangar in comparison to the previous Inchon-class variant and can accommodate a medium helicopter on its flight deck.  The ship’s crew consists of 120 personnel.

It is unclear whether the FFX-II batch of ships will be equipped with a towed sonar next to the built-in sonar. A contract for the second improved Incheon-class vessel is expected to be signed by the end of 2016.