Incheon-class frigate

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20130626 대한해협 전승행사 (4) (9460603621).jpg
Incheon-class frigate
Class overview
Name: Incheon class
Operators:  Republic of Korea Navy
Preceded by:
Cost: $232 million
In service: Batch-I: 3
Building: Batch-II: 1
Planned: 18 to 24
Completed: Batch-I: 3
General characteristics
Type: Coastal defense frigate
  • 2,300 t (empty)
  • 3,251t (full load)(Some Korean Source claims 2,800t)[1]
Length: 114 m (374 ft)
Beam: 14 m (46 ft)
Draft: 4 m (13 ft)
  • 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph) (max)
  • 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph) (cruising)
Range: 8,000 km (5,000 mi)
Complement: 140
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • SPS-550K search radar(Based on non-classified information of SMART-S MK2 Radar but sole development of LIG Nex1,Without any support of Thales)[2]
  • Samsung Thales Naval Shield Integrated Combat Management System[3]
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
Aircraft carried: Super Lynx or SH-60 Seahawk
Aviation facilities: Flight deck and enclosed hangar for up to one medium-lift helicopters

The Incheon-class frigates (Hangul: 인천급 호위함, Hanja: 仁川級護衛艦), also known as Future Frigate eXperimental or FFX during development, are coastal defense frigates of the Republic of Korea Navy. The lead ship was launched on 29 April 2011. The Incheon-class frigates will replace the aging fleet of Pohang-class corvettes and Ulsan-class frigates, and take over multi-role operations such as coast patrol, anti-submarine warfare and transport support. Later batches are planned to be specialized on anti-air and anti-submarine warfare.


In the early 1990s, the Korean government plan for the construction of next generation coastal ships named Frigate 2000 was scrapped due to the 1997 Asian financial crisis. But the decommissioning of the Gearing-class destroyers and the aging fleet of Ulsan-class frigates, the plan was revived as the Future Frigate eXperimental, also known as FFX in the early 2000s.

The Republic of Korea Navy initially wanted twenty-four 3000 ton frigates to replace the Ulsan-, Pohang- and Donghae-class coastal fleet of 37 ships. It was later decided that six 2700 ton ships will be constructed for the first batch. In 2008, the plan was further downgraded to 2300 tons when president Lee Myung-bak took office, with the number of ships for the first batch down to three. 3 to 9 ships are planned for the second batch of FFX with the final goal of 15 frigates.

Batch II vessels are to be built by DSME with the twin gas turbine layout replaced with a single Rolls Royce MT30 turbine engine, and propulsion will be all-electric. Other changes include a 16-cell Korean Vertical Launch System (KVLS) with longer-ranged surface-to-air missiles and the use of anti-submarine missiles, and a larger hangar for a 10-ton helicopters.[4]

In 2010 the construction of the first FFX frigate was awarded to Hyundai Heavy Industry and in April 2011 the first of its class, ROKS Incheon was launched. The ship is named after the western port city of Incheon, representing the Republic of Korea Navy's initiative to defend the western islands due to the constant clashes with the North Korean navy in this area.


The Incheon-class frigates main gun is the 127mm/L62 Mk. 45 Mod 4 naval gun. This was chosen over a smaller 76mm for naval barrage support in amphibious landings and superiority in ship to ship firing.[5] Point-defense armaments include a single 20 mm Phalanx CIWS and a RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile Block 1 21-round launcher. The anti-submarine warfare armaments consists of K745 LW Cheong Sahng-uh (Blue Shark) torpedoes. Anti-ship capability is provided by SSM-700K Hae Sung (Sea Star) long-range anti-ship missile, each with performance similar to the U.S. Harpoon. Land-attack capability is provided by the recently developed Hyunmoo IIIC (Guardian of the Northern Sky) cruise missile,[6] which is similar to the U.S. Tomahawk.

Ships in the class[edit]

 Name   Number   Builder   Launched   Commissioned   Decommissioned   Status 
Incheon (인천) FFG-811 Hyundai Heavy Industries 29 April 2011 17 January 2013 Active[7]
Gyeonggi (경기) FFG-812 Hyundai Heavy Industries 18 July 2013 4 November 2014 Active
Jeonbuk (전북) FFG-813 Hyundai Heavy Industries 13 November 2013[8] 5 January 2015 Active
Gangwon (강원) FFG-815 STX Offshore & Shipbuilding 12 August 2014 2015 Launched
Chungbuk (충북) FFG-816 STX Offshore & Shipbuilding 23 October 2014 2015 Launched
Gwangju (광주) FFG-817 STX Offshore & Shipbuilding 11 August 2015[9] 2016 Launched
FFG-818 Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering 2016 2017 Under Construction

Export market[edit]

A variant of the Incheon class was reportedly being offered by an unnamed South Korean defense manufacturer to the Philippines' Department of National Defense for their requirement of 2 new frigates.[10]

In November 2012, it was reported that Israel is mulling a deal to purchase four Incheon-class frigates from South Korea, which would be built jointly by Hyundai Heavy Industries and Israel Shipyards. Israel is also transferring their technology to the Incheons. The 1,400-ton frigates under negotiation with Israel are said to be priced at about US$100 million each.[11]

See also[edit]