South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced that the delivery signing ceremony was held at DSME’s Okpo shipyard on 28 February 2023.
First ship of the class, ROKS Daegu, was built by DSME. 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 2019 and commissioned in January this year. It was built by DSME as well. The third and fourth frigates of the class ROKS Seoul and ROKS Donghae were built by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and were launched in November 2019 and April 2020 respectively. The fifth vessel in the class, ROKS Daejeon (FFG-823 was launched in May 2021 by DSME. ROKS Pohang was launched in September 2021 by DSME. ROKS Cheonan, the seventh ship-in-class was launched by HHI in November 2021.
The first to fifth ships-in-class have been commissioned with the ROK Navy, while the 7th ship Cheonan and the 8th ship Chuncheon are still under construction. 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.
Construction is already ongoing on the follow-on frigate class known as FFX Batch III / Ulsan-class.
Bang Geuk-cheol, head of the naval division of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, said:
“The Pohang frigate is a state-of-the-art combat ship with significantly enhanced anti-submarine operation capabilities”
About Daegu-class FFX Batch II frigate
The frigates are an improved version of the Incheon-class (FFX batch I). FFX Batch II frigates displace 2,800 tons (3,593 tons full load), 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 (SSM-701K Sea Dragon) 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. The gun systems consists in a Mk 45 mod. 4 naval gun system (main gun) and a Phalanx Block 1B CIWS.
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.
According to the ROK Navy, 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. Its hybrid propulsion system reduces underwater radiation noise, which greatly enhances the anti-submarine ability of the vessel.