South Korea Launches 2.300-ton Frigate Incheon


South Korea on Friday launched a new 2,300-ton frigate that will play a central role in naval operations to deal with security threats including those from North Korea.

Under the Frigate Experimental program aimed at replacing aging frigates and corvettes with more advanced warships, the Navy is seeking to secure some 20 2,300-ton or 2,500-ton frigates by around 2020.

The frigate Incheon was unveiled to the media for the first time during the launch ceremony at a shipyard of its builder Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. in Ulsan.

The ceremony was attended by nearly 300 people including Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Kim Sung-chan, Hyundai Heavy Industries president Lee Jai-seong and other government and military officials.

“The enhanced anti-ship, anti-airplane and electronic warfare capabilities of the frigate will effectively annihilate enemy submarines seeking to stealthily invade our waters and anyone attempting to threaten the security of our waters,” said Kim during his speech at the ceremony.

“On the occasion of the launch ceremony, we promise that we will stand firm as a strong Navy that is respected by the people and as the most formidable force to our enemies.”

The new warship was named after the municipality that controls the five northwestern border islands. The name represents the Navy’s strong determination to safeguard the islands and territorial waters south of the Northern Limit Line, the sea border which the communist state has long challenged, officials explained.

The Incheon, measuring 114 meters in length, 14 meters in width and 25 meters in height has a maximum speed of 30 knots. It can carry a 140-member crew and one military helicopter.

It is equipped with state-of-the art weapons systems and military equipment such as anti-ship and anti-aircraft Rolling Airframe Missiles, a three-dimensional radar system and a Torpedo Acoustic Counter Measure designed to fight off enemy torpedo attacks. One unit is said to cost around 250 billion won ($232 million).

The Navy is expected to receive the Incheon in the latter half of next year after an evaluation process. Its operational deployment is to begin in the middle of 2013 after some six months of testing following the delivery, officials said.

Source: koreaherald, April 29, 2011;