Surface Forces: Automated Korean Frigates



January 13, 2009:  South Korea has begun construction of a new class of frigates, the FFX. These 3,200 ton ships are each armed with a 76mm gun, eight anti-ship missiles, six torpedo tubes and RAM (rolling airframe missile) anti-missile systems, as well as 30mm anti-missile cannon. The ships is highly automated, requiring a crew of only 95. Top speed is 61 kilometers an hour. Range is 7,000 kilometers. Most of the equipment (including electronics) and weapons will be locally built. South Korea plans to build as many of twenty of these ships. The first six are to be in service by 2015. The first ship in the class, the Ulsan, will cost $107 million. South Korea hopes to export the FFX to many navies who want a quality, low cost, warship. South Korea has decades of experience building robust and reliable merchant ships, and have been building a full range of warships over the last two decades.


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