The Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin-class warships of the South Korean Navy (Republic of Korea Navy) were developed as guided-missile destroyers with the lead ship commissioned in 2003. Since then, the class has accepted five more vessels and counts Wang Geon (DDH-978) as one of them. The Wang Geon was herself was launched on May 4th, 2005 and formally commissioned on November 10th, 2006, maintaining an active presence in the modern South Korean Navy as of this writing (2016).
As guided-missile destroyers the ships were given a "multi-mission" mindset and primary armament of missiles. The class provides an offshore and deep water capability due to its modern multi-role design focus. It displaces at 4,430 tons (long) under standard loads and 5,435 tons (long) under full loads. Dimensions include a length of 492 feet, a beam of 57 feet and a draught down to 31 feet. Her crew complement numbers 300 and her powerplant is made up of a COmbined Diesel Or Gas (CODOG) arrangement for maximum efficiency - she can make headway at nearly 30 knots.
Structurally the Wang Geon showcases a most modern external appearance. Her forecastle is relatively flat and unobstructed save for a turreted deck gun and the forward missile bay. The bridge towers over the front section of the ship and is capped by an enclosed pyramidal mast containing the necessary sensors, radar and communications systems. At midships is a combined dual funnel well shrouded and with a low profile. Aft of this is the aft structure housing a full-service hangar for helicopters (the Westland "Super Lynx" being featured). The helipad is set over the stern and allows the vessel to launch and accept a navy helicopter as needed. Up to two can be carried on the ship at once.
Onboard systems include a Raytheon AN/SPS-49(V)5 2D long-range radar fit, a pair of Thales Nederland STIR240 series fire control radars, the SLQ-200(V)K SONATA Electronic Warfare (EW) suite, and the KDCOM-II series combat management system.
In terms of armament, the ship sports a primary battery of 64 Vertical Launch Systems (VLSs) broken down as a 32-cell Mk 41 SM-2 Block IIIA (RIM-66 Standard) medium-range Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) and a 32-cell battery housing "Hyunmoo III" series cruise missiles and "Hon SangEo" ("Red Shark") Anti-Submarine ROCket (ASROC) torpedoes. In addition to this the warship carries 21 x RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missiles (RIMs) for close-in defense against inbound aerial threats and 8 x SSM-700K "Haeseong" Anti-Ship Missile (ASM) launchers. A 5" turreted naval gun is fitted at the forecastle and marks the only conventional weapon on the ship. All told, the Wang Geon can effectively handle threats emerging from the air, on the sea, inland or under the sea.
Wang Geon was constructed by the shipmasters at Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and features prominently in anti-Chinese actions concerning the South China Sea. It forms a part of the "Korean Destroyer eXperimental" (KDX) program launched to reinforce the South Korean Navy inventory with more modern warships. The KDX-II represents a follow-on program intended to bring the American AEGIS Combat System to the series as well as introduce a host of other more modern qualities to the base design.