The South Korean defense procurement agency (DAPA) has awarded Hyundai Heavy Industries a contract worth 636.3 billion won (approx. $539.7M) for the construction of a second KDX-III Batch II Aegis destroyer for the Republic of Korea Navy.
The contract award, revealed by the company on November 10, follows the start of construction of the first ship in the series in February this year.
According to the company, the second of the overall three ships planned for construction is scheduled for delivery to the navy by 2026, two years after the planned delivery of the first ship in the class.
KDX-III Batch II ships will be 170 meters long, displace 8,100 tons and have a maximum speed of 30 knots. They will carry 5-inch guns, anti-ship missiles, and torpedoes.
Compared to their three Sejong the Great-class (KDX-III) predecessors that were built between 2007 and 2011, Batch II ships will have improved ballistic missile defense and anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
Like the Batch I ships, the Batch II is expected to field 128-cell vertical launch systems that can launch a multitude of missiles, including the locally-developed Hyunmoo-3C land-attack missiles and K-ASROC anti-submarine rockets. HHI says the Batch II will also have improved anti-submarine warfare capabilities
South Korea is currently also working a next generation of destroyers, under the Korea Next-Generation Destroyer (KDDX) program, which will build six smaller destroyers, but with exclusively Korean weapon systems and sensors.
Construction of the first in the new class of ships is expected to start in 2024, once the design work wraps up, tentatively by the second half of 2023.