The scale model on display at MADEX 2019 is not new. It was unveiled many years ago and is well known. What’s new however are the various hull forms that DSME has been studying in the past years in order to optimize its KDDX design.
Like HHI with its KDDX conceptual design, DSME has been studying three hull forms:
- A conventional one (as seen on the scale model)
- An inverted bow design
- A trimaran design (similar to Independence-class LCS but much larger as KDDX is a destroyer)
A DSME representative told Naval News that contrary to HHI, these design are not new. DSME has actually signed several contracts with the ROK Navy:
- DSME signed a KDDX early concept design contract with the ROK Navy back in 2013
- Then in 2016, DSME was awarded a contract to perform hull forms design studies
- Finally, in 2019 DSME received a contract to conduct KDDX development studies with the ROK Navy.
The last contract focuses on automation, crew reduction and “smart ship” concept in line with the ROK Navy new SMART Navy initiative.
SMART Navy is a new ROK Navy plan calling for “Strong Maritime forces Accomplished with Revolutionary Technology”. What’s more: On the ROK Navy stand at MADEX 2019, a video about that SMART Navy plan is showing DSME’s KDDX trimaran design.
In its baseline configuration (the scale model), DSME’s KDDX has a length of 155 meters, a beam of 18 meters and a draft of 9.5 meters for a displacement of 8,000 tons. It features 48x VLS cells forward, 16x VLS cells aft, 16x anti-ship missiles and 2x K-DAGAIE NG decoy launchers.
As explained previously, LIG Nex1 and DSME are currently negotiating a partnership for the integration of LIG’s integrated mast (Hanwha being partnered with HHI). Update 10/26/2019: DSME wishes to insist that this potential patnership will be non binding however, and that DSME remains open to work and integrate Hanwha’s I-MAST should the ROK Navy make this choice.
The inverted bow design appears to be fairly similar in length and size to the baseline configuration. The trimaran configuration however seems to be much more massive, with a very large bridge area and larger superstructure as well as a platform below the bridge providing space for more payload such as VLS cells. The trimaran design also seems to offer two helicopter spots. Note that all three designs on the poster seem to sport the AGS (advanced gun system). We were told this is because these designs were studied back in 2016 (back when AGS was still an ongoing program). For the record, AGS is fitted aboard the Zumwalt-class of destroyers but has no ammunition to go with it.
A formal ROK Navy decision to launch the KDDX program is expected for next year.