South Korea Plans to Construct Three More Destroyers Equipped with Aegis Combat Systems

SEOUL, South Korea ( – In a critical step toward developing its naval capabilities, South Korea plans to construct three more 7,600-ton destroyers equipped with American-made Aegis combat systems and sophisticated ballistic missile interceptors, learned, quoting Defense News.

Presided over by Defense Minister Jeong Kyung-doo, a top executive committee of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) endorsed April 30 the $3.3 billion effort to acquire the additional destroyers by 2028.

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The batch 2 ships of the KDX-III Sejong the Great-class are expected to be fitted with the Raytheon-built RIM-161 Standard Missile 3, or SM-3, according to DAPA officials.

“The construction [of more Aegis destroyers] will help the South Korean Navy respond to potential maritime disputes more effectively as well as carry out peacekeeping mission more successfully, as the ships are supposed to have upgraded ship-to-air and underwater operational capability,” DAPA spokesman Park Jung-eun told reporters.

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The new batch of Aegis destroyers, in particular, would have an up-to-date software suite for destroying incoming ballistic missiles, the spokesman added. The three batch 1 ships are equipped with the SM-2 interceptor designed to engage anti-ship cruise missiles during the terminal intercept phase.

The purchase of ballistic missile interceptors was included in South Korea’s five-year midterm force improvement plan, according to DAPA and Navy sources.

The ship-based interceptor is a key part of the country’s own missile shield, dubbed the Korea Air and Missile Defense, or KAMD — a network that includes Patriot Advanced Capability-2 and -3 interceptors, ship-based SM-2 missiles, and locally developed medium-range surface-to-air missiles.

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The U.S. Army’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system was deployed in the southern part of South Korea in 2007 to augment the low-tier, terminal-phase KAMD.

The Aegis Combat System is an American integrated naval weapons system developed by the Missile and Surface Radar Division of RCA, and now produced by Lockheed Martin. It uses powerful computer and radar technology to track and guide weapons to destroy enemy targets.

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Initially used by the United States Navy, Aegis is now used also by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, Spanish Navy, Royal Norwegian Navy, Republic of Korea Navy and Royal Australian Navy. Over 100 Aegis-equipped ships have been deployed. It is also part of NATO’s European missile defence system.

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Source: Defense News