South Korea Green-Lights Key Naval Projects

South Korea’s Defense Project Promotion Committee gave the go-ahead on April 30 for two major naval projects involving production of next-generation destroyers and submarines for the Republic of Korea Navy (ROK Navy).

The first of the two approved projects calls for building a second batch of three AEGIS-equipped KDX Batch 3 (KDX-3) Sejong the Great class destroyers by 2028.  A budget of roughly KRW3.9 trillion ($3.3 billion) has been earmarked for this project, according to South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).  The first batch of 7,600-ton KDX-3 destroyers was built by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) and commissioned into ROK Navy service between 2008 and 2012.  The follow-on batch is expected to utilize Raytheon Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) surface-to-air missiles.

The second approved project involves a second batch of three indigenous Jangbogo III (KSS-3) diesel-electric submarines equipped with ballistic missile launchers.  This project will have a budget of KRW3.4 trillion ($2.92 billion).  The submarines are also to be delivered by 2028.

South Korea plans to order a third batch of three KSS-3 conventional submarines in the coming years in order for the first of these three new subs to enter service by 2029 and for the ROK Navy to field an operable fleet of nine such vessels.

The ongoing focus of South Korea’s maritime vision has been on building a modern, powerful navy that can handle conflict with North Korea, serve as a counter to the growth of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) of China, perform in territorial contingencies against Japan, and, finally, take on blue water operations.

About Daniel Darling

Dan Darling is Forecast International’s director of military and defense markets. In this role, Dan oversees a team of analysts tasked with covering everything from budgeting to weapons systems to defense electronics and military aerospace. Additionally, for over 17 years Dan has, at various times, authored the International Military Markets reports for Europe, Eurasia, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region. Dan's work has been cited in Defense News, Real Clear Defense, Asian Military Review, Al Jazeera, and Financial Express, among others, and he has also contributed commentary to The Diplomat, The National Interest and World Politics Review. He has been quoted in Arabian Business, the Financial Times, Flight International, The New York Times, Bloomberg and National Defense Magazine. In addition, Dan has made guest appearances on the online radio show Midrats and on The Media Line, as well as The Red Line Podcast, plus media appearances on France 24 and World Is One News (WION).

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