The Incheon-class frigates (Hangul: 인천급 호위함, Hanja: 仁川級護衛艦), also known as the Future Frigate eXperimental or FFX during development, are coastal defense frigates of the Republic of Korea Navy. The lead ship was launched on 29 April 2011. The Incheon-class frigates will replace the aging fleet of Pohang-class corvettes and Ulsan-class frigates, and take over multi-role operations such as coast patrol, anti-submarine warfare and transport support. Later batches are planned to be specialized on anti-air and anti-submarine warfare.
In the early 1990s, the Korean government plan for the construction of next generation coastal ships named Frigate 2000 was scrapped due to the 1997 Asian financial crisis. But the decommissioning of the Gearing-class destroyers and the aging fleet of Ulsan-class frigates, the plan was revived as the Future Frigate eXperimental, also known as FFX in the early 2000s.The Republic of Korea Navy initially wanted twenty-four 3000 ton frigates to replace the Ulsan-, Pohang- and Donghae-class coastal fleet of 37 ships. It was later decided that six 2700 ton ships will be constructed for the first batch. In 2008, the plan was further downgraded to 2300 tons when president Lee Myung-bak took office, with the number of ships for the first batch down to six. 6-9 ships are planned for the second batch of FFX with the final goal of 20-24 frigates.
Batch II vessels are to be built by DSME with the twin gas turbine layout replaced with a single Rolls Royce MT30 turbine engine, and propulsion will be all-electric. Other changes include a 16-cell Korean Vertical Launch System (KVLS) with longer-ranged surface-to-air missiles and the use of anti-submarine missiles, and a larger hangar for a 10-ton helicopter.
In 2010 the construction of the first FFX frigate was awarded to Hyundai Heavy Industry and in April 2011 the first of its class, ROKS Incheon was launched. The ship is named after the western port city of Incheon, representing the Republic of Korea Navy's initiative to defend the western islands due to the constant clashes with the North Korean navy in this area.
ArmamentThe Incheon-class frigates main gun is the 127mm/L62 Mk. 45 Mod 4 naval gun. This was chosen over a smaller 76mm for naval barrage support in amphibious landings and superiority in ship to ship firing. Point-defense armaments include a single 20 mm Phalanx CIWS and a RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile Block 1 21-round launcher. The anti-submarine warfare armaments consists of K745 LW Cheong Sahng-uh (Blue Shark) torpedoes. Anti-ship capability is provided by SSM-700K Hae Sung (Sea Star) long-range anti-ship missile, each with performance similar to the U.S. Harpoon. Land-attack capability is provided by the recently developed in Tactical Ship to Land attack missile which based on SSM-700K Hae Sung; initially, the land attack missiles were planned to start arming batch 2 Incheon-class ships, but feasibility studies showed they could be retrofitted to batch 1 ships, which will begin in September 2016, enhancing their flexibility and deterrence capabilities with 150–200 km (93–124 mi)-range tactical missiles.
The FFX-II series of the ship will be able to deploy the Cheolmae-2 medium-range air defense missile, Hong Sang Eo anti-submarine rocket, and possibly the Hyunmoo-3 series of land attack cruise missiles from their K-VLS.
Ships in the class
|ROKS Incheon||FFG-811||Hyundai Heavy Industries||29 April 2011||17 January 2013||Active|
|ROKS Gyeonggi||FFG-812||Hyundai Heavy Industries||18 July 2013||4 November 2014||Active|
|ROKS Jeonbuk||FFG-813||Hyundai Heavy Industries||13 November 2013||5 January 2015||Active|
|ROKS Gangwon||FFG-815||STX Offshore & Shipbuilding||12 August 2014||November 2015||Active|
|ROKS Chungbuk||FFG-816||STX Offshore & Shipbuilding||23 October 2014||26 January 2016||Active|
|ROKS Gwangju||FFG-817||STX Offshore & Shipbuilding||11 August 2015||9 November 2016||Active|
|ROKS Daegu||FFG-818||Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering||2 June 2016||2017||Launched|
Type: Coastal defense frigate
2,300 t (Batch I) (empty), 2,800 t (Batch II) (empty)
3,251t (Batch I) (full load) (Some Korean Source claims 2,800t), 3,592t (Batch II) (full load)
Length: 114 m (374 ft), 122m (Batch II)
Beam: 14 m (46 ft)
Draft: 4 m (13 ft)
CODLAG(Batch II); CODOG(Batch I)
2 × MTU 12V 1163 TB83 diesel engine
2 × GE LM2500 gas turbine (Batch I)
1 x Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbine (Batch II)
30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph) (max)
18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph) (cruising)
Range: 4,500 nautical miles (8,000 km)
Sensors and processing systems:
SPS-550K search radar
hanwhasystems Naval Shield Integrated Combat Management System
LIG Nex1 SLQ-200(V)K Sonata electronic warfare suite
KDAGAIE Mk2 decoys
1 × 5 inch Mk-45 Mod 4 (127mm/L62) naval gun
1 × 20 mm Phalanx CIWS
1 × RAM Block 1 (21 round launcher) (Batch I)
1 × Haegung K-SAAM 64 round in 16 × 1 KVLS in quadpack (Batch II)
2 × 4 SSM-700K Hae Sung anti-ship missiles or Hae sung Ship - tactical Land attack missiles
2 × 3 K745 LW Blue Shark torpedoes
Aircraft carried: Super Lynx or AW159
Aviation facilities: Flight deck and enclosed hangar for up to one medium-lift helicopters
Export marketA variant of the Incheon class being offered by an Hyundai Heavy Industries to the Philippines' Department of National Defense for their requirement of 2 new frigates. As of September 1, 2016, this variant is now on the Notice of Award.
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