“The ROKS Chuncheon’s offensive capabilities against submerged and surface targets has been greatly improved,” said the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) director of combatant forces, Jeong Yeong-soon. “The ship’s enhanced anti-submarine warfare capabilities, in particular, will help defend the Northern Limit Line.”
“The ROKN has relentlessly prepared for the future since its founding, producing both warships and competent personnel. Our maritime sovereignty will remain unchallenged as we continue to develop state-of-the-art multi-dimensional combat capabilities.”
Admiral Kim Jung-soo, ROKN Chief of Naval Operations
The ROKS Chuncheon will be brought into service by late 2023, replacing the 1,500 ton and 1,000 ton corvettes operated by the ROKN.
The first ship of the class, ROKS Daegu, built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME), was launched in June 2016 and commissioned in March 2018. ROKS Gyeongnam, the second ship of the class also built by DSME, was launched in June 2019 and commissioned in January 2021. The third and fourth ships, ROKS Seoul and ROKS Donghae, were built by HHI and launched in November 2019 and April 2020 respectively. DSME launched the fifth and sixth ships of the class in May and September last year while HHI launched the seventh one last November.
About the Daegu-class frigates
The frigates are an improved version of the Incheon-class (FFX Batch-I). The FFX Batch-II frigates displace 2,800 tons (3,593 tons fully loaded), are 122 m in length, 14 m in width, 34 m in height, and can operate a single maritime helicopter.
The ships are fitted with a 16-cell Korean vertical launching system that can launch the Korean Surface to Air Anti Missile, Hong Sang Eo (Red Shark) anti-submarine missile, and Haeryong (SSM-701K Sea Dragon) tactical land-attack cruise missile. They are also fitted with torpedo launchers and eight SSM-700K Haeseong anti-ship missiles. All the aforementioned missile systems are produced by a local company, LIG Nex1.
The ships are also fitted with the Mk 45 mod. 4 naval gun system, which serves as its main gun, and a Phalanx Block 1B close-in weapon system.
According to South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration, the hybrid combined diesel-electric and gas propulsion system, consisting of four MTU 12V 4000 M53B diesel engines and one Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbine, reduces noise and allows the ships to reach a top speed of 30 knots.
According to the ROKN, the new frigate features “advanced sonar and power systems to boost anti-submarine capabilities in coastal operations”. The SQR-250K TASS low-frequency passive sonar system is used for detecting, identifying, and tracking enemy submarines.