Possible new design for KDDX also broke cover...
Dubbed the “Navy Sea GHOST (네이비 씨 고스트)” in Korean and “Guardian Harmonized with Operating manned Systems and Technology based unmanned systems” in English, the new concept was introduced by the ROK Navy Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), Admiral Lee Jong-ho.
“The Navy Sea GHOST concept revealed today, which is based on manned and unmanned artificial intelligence technology, is a ‘game changer’ that will dominate the future battle space. We will devote our efforts and resources into [realizing this vision] and creating a strong and powerful navy.”
Admiral Lee Jong-ho, ROK Navy CNO
As part of the “National Defense Revolution 4.0” proposed by the Ministry of National Defense, the Navy Sea GHOST concept envisions a lean and mobile force that involves close cooperation between manned and unmanned systems. Under the concept, the navy will acquire advanced artificial intelligence technology and several unmanned systems. The ROK Navy is also planning on strengthening its datalink capabilities to secure communications between different assets.
The Navy Sea GHOST concept is a culmination of over two years of research. In February 2018, the ROK Navy formed a task force to research 7 different areas related to the operation of unmanned systems. As we reported last month, the ROK Navy also announced the formation of an unmanned fleet.
The navy will focus on acquiring various unmanned systems first, including unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV), unmanned surface vehicles (USV), and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). Unlike the anti-submarine warfare unmanned underwater vehicle currently in development which focuses on surveillance, the ROK Navy said that the new UUVs will be able to fulfill combat roles. The new USVs will conduct surveillance, while the UAVs will be capable of operating from ships, performing a variety of tasks. These assets will initially be remotely controlled, but the navy hopes to make them semi-autonomous in the near future and fully autonomous in the long term.
It was also revealed that the underwater autonomous mine surveillance system and neutralization system, currently in development by LIG Nex1 and Hanwha Systems respectively, will first be tested on the ROKS Sohae, a Yangyang-class minesweeper by 2027.
Of particular note is the concept image that was revealed during the ceremony. The image appears to show a new ship that is very different from any currently operated by the ROK Navy or designs for future ships released so far. The ROK Navy did not respond to a request for comment by Naval News on the image.
The image likely depicts a new design for the KDDX, given that it is the only surface vessel program for which the design has not been finalized. Information about KDDX is considered to be highly sensitive by the ROK Navy, with several employees of Hyundai Heavy Industries even being brought to court for taking photos of blueprints. Also on display during the ceremony was the MDV-II, an unmanned mine neutralization system, the Austrian made S-100 UAV, and a remotely operated vehicle