South Korea plans to buy more Phalanx CIWS units for its warships

South Korea intends to purchase four more Phalanx close-in weapons systems (CIWS) to equip its naval ships, US congressional records show.

In a notice to the US Congress published in January, it was revealed that South Korea requested “the inclusion of an additional four MK 15 MOD 25 Phalanx Block 1B Baseline 2 (IB2) CIWS.” Also included are AA20 ammunition, AA61 ammunition, spare parts, personnel training and contractor support.  

Earlier on, in December 2020, the US State Department has made a determination approving a possible foreign military sale to the Republic of Korea of two Phalanx CIWS systems and related equipment for an estimated cost of $39 million.

The total estimated value of the proposal is now worth $129 million, the notice furter revealed.

“The proposed sale will improve Republic of Korea’s capability to meet current and future threats by being able to defeat anti-ship missiles and close-in threats that have pierced other lines of defense,” according to the record.

This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a Major Non-NATO Ally that is a force for political stability and economic progress in the Pacific region.” 

Meanwhile, South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) unveiled plans for development of a domestically-built naval interception system with the aim to further improve naval capabilities.

Under the project, CIWS is planned to be developed by 2027. The weapon system will be based on a ship-based gun capable of countering incoming attacks in the final stage of the navy’s multilayered interception program.

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Once the system is operational, it will be installed on major warships including destroyers currently in development under the Korean Destroyer Next Generation project.

In February this year, South Korean shipbuilding major Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) started building the first upgraded Sejong the Great-class (KDX-III) Batch-II guided-missile destroyer for the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN).

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Photo: US Navy