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South Korean navy receives second upgraded KDX-I-class destroyer

South Korea's DAPA announced on 22 October that KDX-I-class destroyer Gwanggaeto Daewang was returned to RoKN after completing an upgrade programme. (RoKN)

The second upgraded Gwanggaeto Daewang (KDX-I)-class destroyer has been returned to the Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN) after completing a modernisation programme aimed at improving the vessel's combat management system (CMS) and other sensors.

South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said in a statement that Gwanggaeto Daewang (pennant number DDG 971) was returned to the service on 22 October during a ceremony held at the Jinhae Naval Base in South Gyeongsang Province.

The first destroyer of the three-vessel KDX-I class to have completed the upgrade was Yang Manchun (DDG 973), which returned to service in September 2020. The third destroyer, Eulji Mundeok (DDG 972), is currently undergoing upgrades and is expected to return to service in December, according to DAPA.

The agency noted that the RoKN's Performance Improvement Programme (PIP), which began in September 2016, includes replacing the ships' ageing combat management system (CMS) with a modern, locally developed one that can not only handle three times as much data as the previous CMS but also process the information 100 times faster.

To enhance their anti-submarine warfare capabilities, the 135.4 m-long destroyers are being fitted with a much more advanced towed array sonar system that is similar to the one found on the RoKN's FFX-series frigates.

Moreover, RoKN officials told Janes that the vessels are being equipped with the Link 16 tactical datalink system as well as with more advanced external and internal communication and identification friend-or-foe systems. The vessels were commissioned between July 1998 and July 2000 and have a full-load displacement of 3,900 tonnes.

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