The South Korean Navy has launched the third of its 7,600-ton KDX-3 class AEGIS destroyers. The Seoae Ryu Seong-ryong is now being fitted out at the Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard and will enter service in March 2012.
There is some doubt over whether construction of the KDX-3 class ships will continue beyond the three already ordered. The original plan was to build three, but the number was then expanded to a class of six. However, the KDX-3 class are very expensive warships, and a proposal for a less expensive AEGIS derivative of the smaller KDX-2 gained much support.
Six of these modified KDX-2 class ships could be purchased for the investment made in three additional KDX-3 class vessels.
Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world’s biggest shipbuilder, today launched Korea’s0 third 7,600 ton class Aegis destroyer, the Ryu Sung-ryong.
The launch ceremony was attended by Minister of Defense Mr. Kim Kwan-jin, Chief of Naval Operations Mr. Kim Sung-chan, Hyundai Heavy Industries president & CEO Mr. Lee Jai-seong, and other officials from government and military authorities.
The Aegis destroyer was named after a scholar-official of Joseon Dynasty of Korea, Ryu Sung-ryong, who was in charge of military operations during the Imjin War, 1592-1598.
The destroyer, measuring 165.9m long, 21m wide and 49m deep, is equipped with an Aegis combat system. The system includes the SPY-1D radar, capable of detecting and tracking 1,000 targets and attacking 20 of those targets simultaneously. The destroyer also has a wide-ranging anti-ship, anti-aircraft, and anti-submarine defense system.
The Ryu Sung-ryong destroyer is due for final delivery to the Republic of Korea Navy by August 2012 after sea trials. As a cornerstone of Korea’s defense industry, Hyundai Heavy’s technology has been used for all Korean Aegis destroyers, two of which have been built in Ulsan.
Since constructing and delivering the first Korean-built frigate Ulsan-ham in 1980, Hyundai Heavy has grown as a leading naval ship builder by delivering 56 naval ships including the first Korean Aegis destroyer Sejong the Great, 3 KDX-II destroyers, 4 frigates, 3 submarines, and 24 patrol/salvage ships.
Hyundai Heavy has also exported various naval ships including supply ship and high-speed ships to navies in New Zealand, Bangladesh and Venezuela.