Second FFX Batch-III Frigate for ROK Navy

M&T was recently awarded a contract to build the second 3.500 ton FFX Batch-III frigate by the Korea’s Defence Acquisition Programme Administration (DAPA). The frigate is expected to enter service in 2026. The DAPA contract was worth KRW33.5 billion ($27.8 million).

Mid-sized SamKang M&T is a newcomer to the military shipbuilding industry and this their first defence contract awarded by the Korean government. Earlier SamKang M&T absorbed STX Offshore & Shipbuilding into its group of companies. STX has experience in building specialised naval vessels that include the Republic of Korea Navy’s Incheon-class frigates, Yoon Youngha-class patrol vessels, and various Coast Guard patrol vessels and patrol boats.

Classified as Ulsan-class Batch-III frigate, the second vessel is among six ships to be built under the  FFX Batch III programme for the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy. This ship built by SamKang M&T will be delivered in 2026. The contract for FFX Batch-III’s lead ship was awarded in March, 2020 and is being built by Hyundai Heavy Industries.

The ship is scheduled to be launched in March, 2023 and to be handed over to the ROKN in 2024. The Ulsan-class Batch-III frigates are 129m long, with a width of 15m, and a maximum speed of 30 knots. The new frigate series will replace the outdated frigates and patrol corvette ships, in order to protect the future carrier strike group or commercial ships.

Additional contracts for FFX Batch-III will be awarded in the near future with the FFX Batch-II Daegu-class programme reaching its final stage. The FFX Batch-III programme will be followed by even larger tonnage FFX Batch-IV programme which calls for six frigates.

Two Korean-Built Corvettes For The Philippine Navy

In late December 2021, Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and the Philippine Department of National Defence signed a $490 million contract for two corvettes. HHI agreed to construct and deliver two corvettes for the Philippines according to the requirement of the Philippines by year 2026.

According to the Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, the corvettes are part of a plan to  modernising the Philippine Navy as it faces disputes with Beijing in the South China Sea. This is not the first time the HHI signed a contract with the Philippines as it comes five years after the firm also won a contract to build two new frigates for the Philippine Navy. The Jose Rizal-class of multi-role guided missile frigates, currently in service with the Philippine Navy, are heavily modified variant of the ROK Navy’s Incheonclass frigates. The ships, which were built by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), according to the Philippine Navy’s specifications.

According to the Philippines requirements, the new corvettes will have displacement of 3,100 tons, length of 116m, and width of 14.6m. They will be equipped with VLS and AESA radar, among other sensors and weapon systems. These two ships will be built at HHI’s shipyard in Ulsan and be delivered to the Philippine Navy by 2025.

It was also reported that the Philippine Navy will acquire the former (now decommissioned) Pohang-class corvette ROKS Andong. It will be delivered to the Philippine Navy within the first quarter of 2022 depending on the pandemic situation. ROKS Andong will be the second ship in possession of the Philippine Navy, after the first acquisition of another retired Pohang-class corvette, ROKS Chungju, which was renamed as BRP Conrado Yap by the service. –shp/kf/aaa (PHOTO:ROK Navy)