South Korea signs contract for first FFX-III “Ulsan-class” frigate

A pre-production rendering of the FFX-III frigate, as designed by HHI. Photo c/o HHI through YNA.

The South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has awarded a KRW400 billion (US$325 million) contract to design and build the first FFX-III frigate for the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN).

The ship is said to be known as “Ulsan-class”, and is a further development from the earlier Daegu-class frigate that was designed under the FFX-II program.

DAPA announced on 16 March 2020 that South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) has received the contract, and is expected to deliver the ship to the ROKN by 2024.

An earlier concept design was already made by HHI, and the contract includes finalizing the design to production model that would be used to construct 5 more frigates in the near future.

Based on earlier information released by DAPA, the new Ulsan-class FFX-III frigate would have a length of 129 meters, a width of 15 meters, and will displace at around 3,500 tons. 

It will be powered by a hybrid gas and electric propulsion system, with the electric propulsion provides an advantage during anti-submarine warfare (ASW) operations due to its quiet propulsion, while still allowing the ship to reach a maximum of speed of around 30 knots using the gas turbines.

It is also expected to be equipped with an indigenous four-sided fixed multifunction phased array radar, which enables 360-degrees multi-directional detection, tracking, and engagement or aerial and surface targets. 

The ship would be armed with a 5” naval gun, a close-in weapon system, an indigenous vertical launching system (VLS) for firing air defense missiles, anti-ship and land attack missiles. It would also have facilities to accommodate a naval helicopter capable of anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface warfare (ASuW).

[1] Yonhap News Agency
[2] Naval News
[3] Jane’s Navy International

South Korea signs contract for first FFX-III “Ulsan-class” frigate South Korea signs contract for first FFX-III “Ulsan-class” frigate Reviewed by Asia Pacific Defense Journal on March 17, 2020 Rating: 5

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