SEOUL -- South Korea's defense procurement agency endorsed a military scheme to go ahead with the home-made construction of next-generation frigates with improved anti-aircraft detection capabilities and viability. The project requires about 3.51 trillion won ($3.07 billion) from 2023 to 2032.
The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), a state arms procurement agency controlled by the defense ministry, said it has approved the FFX Batch-Ⅳ program. Details such as design were not disclosed.
To replace an aging fleet of corvettes and frigates, South Korea has launched the FFX program that calls for the construction of six 2,300-ton Incheon-class ships for the first batch, eight 2,800-ton Daegu-class ships for the second batch and six 3,500-ton Ulsan-class ships for the third batch. Hyundai Heavy Industries has been selected for the design and construction of the Batch III frigate featuring a dramatic improvement in its anti-aircraft defense capability.
In May, a 2,800-ton frigate armed with anti-submarine and tactical guided missiles was launched at the shipyard of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering. It was the fifth FFX Batch II frigate which is 122 meters long, featuring a hybrid propulsion system to reduce underwater radiated noise and a towed array passive sonar system.
South Korea has stepped up the construction of frigates with enhanced war capacities following the sinking of its Pohang-class corvette, Cheonan, on March 26, 2010, near a front-line island in the Yellow Sea that killed 46 seamen. International experts concluded that Cheonan had been sunk by a North Korean torpedo.
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