South Korea launched on 28 July a new 8,200-ton destroyer armed with a missile interception platform and stronger anti-submarine capabilities, the Navy said, as the country pushes to bolster defense against North Korea’s evolving military capabilities, local news agency Yonhap reported.
The ceremony for the Jeongjo The Great destroyer, named after a visionary king of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), took place at the shipyard of Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. in Ulsan, some 410 kilometers southeast of Seoul.
The Aegis-equipped destroyer is the first warship built as part of Seoul's acquisition program, code-named Gwanggaeto-III Batch-II, under which the country plans to procure three high-tech destroyers. It is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in late 2024.
Some 150 people, including senior government, military and industry officials, joined the launch ceremony.
“As a symbol of the efforts to build a strong, high-tech ocean-going Navy and a national strategic asset, the 8,200-ton destroyer is expected to further boost the Navy's combat capabilities,” the Navy said in a press release.
The 170-meter-long, 21-meter-wide destroyer is equipped with radar-evading functions and the newest Aegis combat system capable of not only detecting and tracking ballistic missiles but also intercepting them.
The vessel is also to be fitted with ship-to-ground guided ballistic missiles and long-range ship-to-air guided missiles and equipped with the locally developed advanced sonar system targeting enemy submarines and underwater weapons, like torpedoes.
The destroyer will also be able to carry MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopters that the country plans to start introducing in 2024, according to the Navy.
“We will strive harder to construct a strong ocean-going military based on cutting-edge technologies in preparation against future threats and for shifts in the battle environment,” a Navy official was quoted as saying in the press release. (South Korean Navy; Yonhap; Photo: Jeongjo The Great Destroyer Sailing at Sea © South Korean Navy)