Incheon-class frigate

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20130626 대한해협 전승행사 (4) (9460603621).jpg
Incheon-class frigate
Class overview
Name: Incheon class
Builders:
Operators:  Republic of Korea Navy
Preceded by:
Subclasses: Future Philippine Navy Frigate
Cost: $232 million
In service: Batch I: 6
Building: Batch II: 2
Planned: 20 to 22
Completed:
  • Batch I: 6
  • Batch II: 1
General characteristics
Type: Coastal defense frigate
Displacement:
  • 2,300 t (Batch I) (empty), 2,800 t (Batch II) (empty)
  • 3,251t (Batch I) (full load) (Some Korean Source claims 2,800t),[1] 3,592t (Batch II) (full load)
Length: 114 m (374 ft), 122m (Batch II)
Beam: 14 m (46 ft)
Draft: 4 m (13 ft)
Propulsion:
Speed:
  • 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph) (max)
  • 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph) (cruising)
Range: 4,500 nautical miles (8,000 km)
Complement: 140
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • SPS-550K 3D air search radar
  • SPG-540K fire control radar
  • SQS-240K hull-mounted sonar
  • SQR-220KA1 towed array sonar system (Batch II)
  • SAQ-540K EOTS
  • Hanwha Systems IRSTs
  • Naval Shield Integrated Combat Management System
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
  • LIG Nex1 SLQ-200(V)K Sonata electronic warfare suite
  • SLQ-261K torpedo acoustic counter measures
  • KDAGAIE Mk2 decoy launchers (Batch I)
  • MASS decoy launchers (Batch II)
Armament:
  • 1 × 5 inch Mk-45 Mod 4 (127mm/L62) naval gun
  • 1 × 20 mm Phalanx CIWS
  • 2 × 3 K745 LW Blue Shark torpedoes
  • Missiles:
    • Batch I:
    • Batch II:
      • 16 cell KVLS
        • Haegung K-SAAM (4 per cell)
        • Haeseong Tactical Land Attack Missiles (vertical launch)
        • Hong Sang Eo anti-submarine missiles
      • 2 × 4 SSM-700K Haeseong anti-ship missiles
Aircraft carried: Super Lynx or AW159
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 the 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.

Development[edit]

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 six. 8 ships are planned for the second batch of FFX with the final goal of 20-22 frigates.[2]

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 helicopter.[3][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.

Armament[edit]

The Incheon-class frigates main gun is the 127mm/L62 Mk. 45 Mod 4 naval gun.[5] This was chosen over a smaller 76mm for naval barrage support in amphibious landings and superiority in ship to ship firing.[6] 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 Haeseong (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 in Tactical Ship to Land attack missile which based on SSM-700K Haeseong; initially, the land attack missiles were planned to start arming batch 2 Incheon-class ships, but feasibility studies showed they could be retrofitted to batch 1 ships, which will begin in September 2016, enhancing their flexibility and deterrence capabilities with 150–200 km (93–124 mi)-range tactical missiles.[7]

The FFX-II series of the ship feature a 16-cell K-VLS that will be able to deploy the Cheolmae-2 air defense missile, Hong Sang Eo anti-submarine missile, and Haeseong-II and Hyunmoo-3 land attack cruise missiles.[8]

Ships in the class[edit]

 Name   Number   Builder   Launched   Commissioned   Decommissioned   Status 
FFG-I
ROKS Incheon FFG-811 Hyundai Heavy Industries 29 April 2011 17 January 2013[9] Active
ROKS Gyeonggi FFG-812 Hyundai Heavy Industries 18 July 2013 4 November 2014 Active
ROKS Jeonbuk FFG-813 Hyundai Heavy Industries 13 November 2013[10] 5 January 2015 Active
ROKS Gangwon FFG-815 STX Offshore & Shipbuilding 12 August 2014 November 2015 Active
ROKS Chungbuk FFG-816 STX Offshore & Shipbuilding 23 October 2014 26 January 2016 Active
ROKS Gwangju FFG-817 STX Offshore & Shipbuilding 11 August 2015[11] 9 November 2016 Active
FFG-II
ROKS Daegu FFG-818 Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering 2 June 2016 2017 Launched

Export market[edit]

A variant of the Incheon class being offered by an Hyundai Heavy Industries to the Philippines' Department of National Defense for their requirement of 2 new frigates.[12] As of September 1, 2016, this variant is now on the Notice of Award.[13]

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.[14]

References[edit]