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MADEX 2023: South Korea to equip Ulsan-class Batch III frigates with CIWS-II in 2026

A model of the South Korea-developed CIWS-II on display at MADEX 2023. (Janes/Ridzwan Rahmat)

The Republic of Korea Navy's (RoKN's) Ulsan-class Batch III frigates will be equipped with the indigenously developed ‘CIWS-II' close in weapon system (CIWS) but only from 2026.

This indicative timeline is almost two years later than originally planned as the RoKN has requested for slight design changes to be made to the CIWS-II, said an LIG Nex1 representative who spoke to Janes at the International Maritime Defense Industry Exhibition (MADEX) 2023 in Busan, South Korea.

In 2021 LIG Nex1 won the contract to locally develop and produce a CIWS that can be deployed on future RoKN ships. The service largely relies on the Goalkeeper CIWS for its close-in defence requirements and the weapon is deployed on vessels such as the KDX-I and KDX-2 destroyers. The RoKN has also opted for the Phalanx CIWS for its second Dokdo-class amphibious assault ship, ROKS Marado.

LIG Nex1's CIWS-II proposal is based on a seven-barrelled gatling gun system that has been incorporated with a tracking active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, a four-faced AESA search radar, and an electro-optical tracker. These components are mounted within a cupola with reduced radar cross-section (RCS) features.

The weapon can fire about 4,200 rounds per minute and can engage hostile precision-guided munitions at distances of up to 2 km. For hostile aircraft, its maximum engagement range is about 3.5 km.

Changes that have been requested from the RoKN largely pertain to the angles found on the weapon, said Hyunseok Lee, chief manager of LIG's Nex1's maritime surveillance and combat systems, in his interview with Janes at MADEX 2023.

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