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).
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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.