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Hanwha Ocean bags contract to build final Chungnam-class frigates

A model of Hanwha Ocean's FFX-III frigate on display at MADEX 2023 in Busan, South Korea. (Janes/Ridzwan Rahmat)

Hanwha Ocean has received a contract to build the final two Chungnam (FFX-III)-class guided-missile frigates for the Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN).

The KRW791.73 billion (USD596 million) contract was inked with the country's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) on 10 November, the company announced on the same day.

South Korea conceived a requirement for the warships in the wake of the mishap that befell ROKS Cheonan , a Pohang-class corvette that Seoul believes was sunk by a North Korean torpedo.

The warships, which are also referred to in-country as the Ulsan-class Batch III frigates, would feature enhanced anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities in addition to being equipped for surface warfare and anti-air operations.

The first-of-class, which will be in service as ROKS Chungnam once commissioned, was launched by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) in April 2023. Another South Korean shipbuilder, SK Oceanplant, is building the second, third, and fourth vessels in the class.

All six vessels in the class will be armed with a 127 mm naval gun, close-in weapon system (CIWS) turrets, and launchers for anti-ship missiles. The class will also be equipped with a 16-cell vertical launching system (VLS) in the forward section, just ahead of the bridge.

The 3,500 tonne vessel class will have an overall length of 129 m and a width of 15 m. It will feature a hybrid electric and gas propulsion system, and can attain a maximum speed of 30 kt.

It can utilise its electric propulsion systems during anti-submarine operations to minimise its acoustic signatures and rely on gas turbine propulsion when it needs to operate at high speeds.

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