South Korean shipbuilder Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction (HHIC) has launched four more second Patrol Killer Experimental-B (PKX-B)-class fast attack craft for the Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN), according to South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).
The four new vessels of the class, which is also known as Patrol-boat Killer Medium Rocket (PKMR) class, entered the water in a ceremony held on 13 December at HHIC’s facilities in Busan.
The patrol vessels, which have been given pennant numbers 216, 217, 218, and 219, are expected to be delivered to the RoKN by the end of 2020 following trials as part of a contract awarded to the company in June 2017.
The launch ceremony comes after HHIC handed over the second craft of the class to the RoKN on 26 November. The vessel (with pennant number 212) will enter service in the first half of 2020 and be deployed on patrol missions near the inter-Korean maritime border, according to DAPA.
The first craft of the class (with pennant number 211) was delivered to the navy in October 2017. The third and fourth vessels, which have been given pennant numbers 213 and 215, are expected to be handed over before the end of 2019.
The latest developments come after HHIC announced on 31 October that it had won a KRW246 billion (USD211 million) contract from DAPA for the construction of four more vessels of the class for the RoKN.
Under the contract HHIC is expected to deliver the four vessels by December 2022, according to the Yonhap News Agency. HHIC said that it has now received RoKN orders for 16 of these vessels worth a total of KRW1.1 trillion. Additional orders are expected, possibly as part of a second batch.
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