HHI starts building 1st next-gen KDX-III destroyer for Korean Navy

South Korean shipbuilding major Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) has officially begun building the first upgraded Sejong the Great-class (KDX-III) Batch-II guided-missile destroyer for the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN).

HHI held a steel-cutting ceremony for the next-generation Aegis destroyer in Ulsan on 16 February 2021.

Photo: HHI

Back in 2019, the South Korean defense procurement agency (DAPA) awarded Hyundai Heavy a KRW 676.6 billion contract for the construction of the first of three next-generation destroyers.

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The yet-to-be-named lead ship of the second batch of KDX-III destroyers will be four meters longer than the first three destroyers in the class. The 8,100-ton unit will feature a length of 170 meters, a width of 21 meters, and will be able to reach a maximum speed of 30 knots.

Equipped with the Aegis combat system and the added capability of launching SM-3 missiles, the ship will also be capable of performing the ballistic missile defense role and carrying out anti-submarine operations.

The newbuild is scheduled to be launched in the second half of 2022 and delivered to the navy in 2024.

The first batch of three Sejong the Great-class destroyers was commissioned between 2008 and 2012. HHI built the 7,600-ton ROKS Sejong the Great and ROKS Seoae Ryu Seong-ryong, the first and third vessels from this batch.