According to Naval News, a mid-sized Korean shipbuilder called Samkang M&T announced on January 4th that it won a contract for the construction of a 3,500 tons FFX Batch III frigate. The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) contract is worth 33.5 billion won (about 27.8 million US dollars).
The vessel is among six 3,500-ton Ulsan-class Batch-III (also known as FFX Batch III) frigates set to be built for the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy. This ship built by Samkang M&T will be delivered in 2026. Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) was awarded the contract for the «basic Design of Ulsan-class Batch-III» in 2019 and won the contract for «detailed design and construction» of the first ship last year.
Ulsan-class Batch-III frigates are 423 feet/129 meters long with a width of 49 feet/15 meters and a maximum speed of 30 knots/34.5 mph/55.5 km/h. The new frigate series will replace the outdated frigates and patrol corvette ships, in order to protect the future carrier strike group or commercial ships.
The vessel with a crew of 120 features a dramatic improvement in its anti-aircraft defense capability compared to the existing Ulsan-class frigates by a four-sided fixed multi-function phased array radar capable of 360 degrees omni-directional detection, tracking and engagement. It is armed with a 5-inch/127-mm gun, surface-to-surface guided missiles, and Close-In Weapons System (CIWS).
The frigate with hybrid propulsion system can avoid detection from submarine by applying electric propulsion system that produces less noise. In an emergency, it can operate at high speeds using gas turbine; thus, significantly enhancing its operational capabilities.