First ship of the class, ROKS Daegu, was built by DSME as well. It was launched in June 2016 and commissioned with the ROK Navy on March 6, 2018. Second ship of the class, ROKS Gyeongnam was launched in June this year.
A total of 8 frigates of this class, also known as the Incheon-class batch II or FFG-II , are set to be built by both DSME and Hyundai Heavy Industries, for the South Korean fleet.
The frigates are an improved version of the Incheon-class (FFX batch I). FFX Batch II frigates displace 2,800 tons, are 122 meters long, 14 meters wide and 34 meters high. They can accommodate a maritime helicopter.
They are fitted with a 16-cell Korean vertical launching system (K-VLS) to deploy K-SAAM (Korean Surface to Air Anti Missile), Hong Sang Eo (Red Shark) anti-submarine missile, and Haeryong tactical land attack cruise missiles. They are also fitted with torpedo launchers for anti-submarine warfare and eight SSM-700K Haeseong anti-ship missiles. All these missile systems are designed and produced by local company LIG Nex1.
Powered by four MTU 12V 4000 M53B diesel engine and one Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbines in a Combined diesel-electric and gas (CODLAG) arrangement, the frigate features a hybrid propulsion system to reduce underwater radiated noise. The class is capable of reaching speeds of 30 knots, according to DAPA.
“Uncertainties in regional maritime security situations have continued due to feuds over maritime jurisdiction and freedom of navigation … Under these circumstances, we should secure more powerful naval capabilities. We will firmly protect national security and maritime sovereignty by perfectly carrying out all missions in seas surrounding the Korean Peninsula and the world.”
South Korea’s Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo
The launch ceremony took place at HHI’s Ulsan shipyard, and coincided with the ROK Navy’s 74th anniversary.
According to the ROK Navy, the new frigate features “advanced sonar and power systems to boost anti-submarine capabilities in coastal operations”. The TASS, low frequency passive sonar system is used for detecting, identifying and tracking enemy submarines. Its hybrid propulsion system reduces underwater radiation noise, which greatly enhances the anti-submarine ability of the vessel.
ROKS Seoul is set to be commissioned with the ROK Navy in early 2021. A program to build the third batch (FFX III) frigates which will displace 3,000 tons and feature a phased array radar is also underway.