With its vast coastline and potential bordering threats in North Korea and China, the Republic of Korea Navy (South Korea) is forced to field a considerable fighting force on the ground, in the air, and on the high seas. Its navy sports all-modern solutions that run the gamut of submarines, mine warfare vessels, destroyers, corvettes, and frigates. The Daegu-class in one of a number of operating surface combatants available to the service and embodies the guided-missile frigate concept. ROKS Daegu (FFG-818) is the lead ship of a class that is intended to include eight total players. Daegu is the only active vessel of the series with sisters FFG-819 and FFG-821 having been launched and FFG-822 having its keel laid down.
FFG-823, FFG-825, FFG-826, and FFG-827 have yet to be realized.
The construction of these warships is spread between the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) and Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) shipyards. ROKS Daegu (FFG-818) was built by DSME and launched on June 2nd 2016. She was formally commissioned on March 6th, 2018 and maintains an active presence in the South Korean fleet.
The modern fighting frigate is one of the more dimensionally compact surface combatants fielded by any navy power. These vessels were well armed and fast in the water, fully capable of operating independently or as part of a main fighting force. As such, they feature a broad collection of armament solutions as well as all-modern sensors and processing systems. For the ROK, the Daegu-class frigates have succeeded the Incheon-class group on paper - this coastal-defense-minded group in commission beginning in 2013 - but are closely associated with the earlier group and are sometimes referred to as "Incheon-class Batch II".
As expected, ROKS Daegu is an all-modern solution for the service complete with fuel efficiency measures, stealth qualities, and a broad array of weaponry installed. Displacement reaches 3,600 tons under full load and dimensions include a running length of 400 feet, a beam of 46 feet, and a draught of 13 feet. The shallow draught allows the ship to operate Close-to-Shore (CtS) in support of inland fighting forces or amphibious assaults.
The vessel's propulsion scheme is a COmbined Diesel-eLectric-Or-Gas (CODLOG) configuration intended to maximize fuel while providing for enhanced performance. The arrangement includes 1 x Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbine mated to 4 x MTU 12V4000 M53B marine diesels and 2 x Leonardo DRS electric motors. Collectively, the entire propulsion system is British-German-Italian in origin.
The arrangement supplies the ship with a maximum ocean-going speed of 30 knots and a range out to 4,500 nautical miles - giving the warship good "legs" in ideal conditions and plenty of range for patrolling the vast South Korean coastline.
Aboard is a complement of 140. Systems include the SPS-550K air-search 3D radar, the SPG-540K Fire Control System (FCS) radar, and the Hanwha SAQ-600K Naval Shield Integrated Combat Management System (NSICMS). Submarine-hunting is aided by the hull-mounted SQS-240K and towed SQR-250K sonar arrays. Electronic Warfare (EW) is handled through the LIG Nex 1 SLQ-200(V)K "Sonata" suite. The installed SLQ-261K is a torpedo acoustic CounterMeasure (CM) system.
In keeping with Western design methods, armament for the ship is a complementary mix of projectile- and missile-based solutions incorporating a single 5" (127mm) Mk 45 Mod 4 /L62 caliber turret deck gun over the forecastle. Close-in defense is by way of twin 20mm Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWSs). There is a 16-cell Vertical Launching System (VLS) installed that supports Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs), anti-ship missiles, and land-attack cruise missiles. Beyond all this are twin triple-tubed torpedo launchers (supporting the "Blue Shark" family of torpedoes) and twin 4-cell SSM-700K "Haeseong" anti-ship missile launchers.
All told, the warship carries enough firepower to counter most any at-sea threat, whether it be from the air, on the sea, or under it. In this way, the vessel can be called upon to undertake many roles including air defense, deterrence, and direct-attack.
An extension of the warship is its single helicopter supported from the rear helipad that comes complete with a full-service hangar facility. Supported types include the Westland "Super Lynx" or AW159 utility types typically outfitted for the sub- or -ship-hunting role. Beyond this the helicopters can assist in at-sea resupply, Search & Rescue (SAR) sorties, and in Over-the-Horizon (OtH) scouting work.