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Hyundai Heavy launches Republic of Korea Navy’s fourth FFX II frigate

FFX II frigate ROKS Donghae
Photo: Republic of Korea Navy

South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) has launched the fourth FFX II frigate for the Republic of Korea Navy.

Named Donghae, with pennant number 822, the frigate was launched just six months after the shipbuilder launched the third unit – which will be named Seoul.

Donghae is expected to enter service by the end of 2021. HHI is building a total of four ships in the class (third, fourth, seventh and eighth) while compatriot shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) is to deliver the first, second, fifth and eighth units.

The lead ship in the class, ROKS Daegu, was commissioned in March 2018, while the second vessel was launched at DSME’s Okpo shipyard in June 2019.

The country’s defense procurement agency DAPA has awarded construction contracts for all eight 2,800-ton frigates in the class.

Daegu-class ships displace 2,800-tons, 500 more than their predecessor Incheon-class (FFX) frigates. Powered by Rolls-Royce’s MT30 gas turbines, they are capable of reaching speeds of 30 knots, according to DAPA.

The 122-meter frigates are being equipped with a 16-cell Korean vertical launching system for defense against air threats and six torpedo tubes for anti-submarine warfare. Daegu and sister ships will carry a towed array sonar system (TASS) in addition to naval guns and a Phalanx close-in weapon system.

A program to build the third batch (FFX III) frigates, which will displace 3,000 tons and feature an active phased array radar, is also underway.