South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries laid the keel of the first Ulsan-class frigate.
The ceremony, which was presided over by officials from the ROKN, DAPA, and Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), involved laying the first module out of a total of 63 that will eventually be brought together in the construction of the first ship in the batch. It took place on April 25th at HHI’s Ulsan shipyard.
“The Ulsan-class Batch-III uses a multitude of new technologies which improves its detection capabilities and survivability. We expect the ship to boost defense exports, given its world-class multi-function radar and South Korea’s world-leading shipbuilding technology.”
Improvements over previous Ulsan-class ships include an “integrated mast” –which brings together an active-electronically scanned array radar and infrared detection equipment–, a more advanced fire control system, and better air-defense and anti-submarine capabilities.
The ships also utilize a “box girder” design, making them more likely to survive when hit by enemy fire. Furthermore, the hull design minimizes drag while sailing.
About FFX Batch III / Ulsan-class frigate
The Batch III will be 129 m in length, 15 m in width, displace 3,500 tons, and have a maximum speed of 30 knots. Its major armaments include a Mark 45 5-inch main gun, ship-to-ship missiles, and a new close-in weapons system.
Companies that will partake in delivering the ships themselves include HHI and Samkang M&T. Rolls-Royce will deliver the MT30 Gas Turbines, which will serve as the major propulsion system for the ships.
The Batch III ships are the culmination of over 15 years of research. The Batch I program lasted from 2006 to 2016. The Batch II program, which started in 2011, is still ongoing, with the last ship being scheduled for delivery in 2023. Development on the Batch III began in 2016. Its production will continue until 2027, with the first ship scheduled for delivery to the ROKN in 2024.