South Korea has decided to purchase an undisclosed number of Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) to arm the second batch of three Sejong Daewang (KDX-3)-class guided-missile destroyers being developed for the Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN), the country's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced in a 7 December statement.
The SM-2 missiles, which are presumed to be SM-2 medium-range (SM-2MR) Block IIIB, are capable of defending against anti-ship missiles and aircraft out to about 170 km, will be ordered from the US under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme, said DAPA.
Although the agency's statement did not mention an expected delivery date, the Yonhap News Agency reported that the missiles are to be handed over to the RoKN from 2023.
The announcement comes after the US Department of Defense (DoD) announced on 30 October that Lockheed Martin had been awarded a USD365.7 million FMS contract by the US Navy to provide three RoKN guided-missile destroyers with the Baseline K2 version of the Aegis Combat System.
Although no details were provided by the US DoD about the class of destroyers set to receive the new construction systems, it is understood that they are meant for the second batch of KDX-3 destroyers for the RoKN.
The RoKN currently operates a fleet of three KDX-3 ships that were commissioned between 2008 and 2012. The first batch of these vessels has been equipped with the Aegis Baseline 7.1 combat system, according to Jane's Fighting Ships .
In May 2016 Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) was awarded a contract to provide the design for an improved KDX-3 variant, which is to feature not only the improved Aegis combat system but also enhanced anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
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