October 14, 2009 10:05
The Navy will build six 5,600-ton "mini Aegis" destroyers. Navy headquarters announced the plan in a parliamentary audit at the Gyeryongdae military headquarters on Tuesday, pledging to use the destroyers as part of the main naval combat fleet.
The KDX-IIIA "mini" destroyers are upgrades from the 4,500 ton-class KDX-II without the Aegis capabilities and smaller than the 7,600 ton-class Aegis KDX-III.
The Navy currently has six KDX-II destroyers, including the Munmu the Great, and one KDX-III -- the King Sejong the Great. It pledged to operate an "efficient mobile naval combat fleet" by building the KDX-IIAs from 2019 until 2026. The project will cost more than W3 trillion (US$1=W1,169).
The KDX-IIA destroyers will be equipped with state-of-the-art weapons such as reconnaissance-level high-performance radar, SM-2 guided missiles and a close-in defense weapons system.
But Grand National Party lawmaker Kim Jang-soo said the plan is unrealistic. "The Navy's plan says that it will organize a mobile combat fleet of three KDX-IIIs and KDX-IIs. But it'll be impossible to form such a mobile fleet because three of the Navy's six KDX-IIs are under repair and maintenance or are mobilized for an overseas mission or for a joint military exercises," he said. "For the moment, it'd be better to build three more KDX-IIs at a cost similar to that of building KDX-III class vessels, which cost up to W1 trillion each."
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