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November 9, 2021

South Korea’s HHI launches new Cheonan frigate

Cheonan has been named after the ROK Navy ship that was sunk by a North Korean torpedo.

The Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy and state arms procurement agency Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) have reportedly announced the launch of a new frigate.

Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) held the launch ceremony at its shipyard in Ulsan, Seoul, according to Yonhap News Agency (YNA).

Nearly 100 people, including defence and navy officials, took part in the event.

A DAPA official was quoted by YNA as saying: “The frigate is the latest vessel equipped with sturdy, homegrown weapons systems, and we expect it to safeguard the West Sea by honouring the noble sacrifices of the sailors and inheriting their will for national defence.”

DAPA was cited as saying that the new 2,800t frigate, known as ‘Cheonan’, was named after the ROK Navy’s Pohang-class corvette that was torpedoed by a North Korean submarine in March 2010.

The 1,200t corvette sank near the Northern Limit Line, resulting in the loss of 46 lives.

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South Korea Defence Minister Suh Wook was quoted by the news agency as saying: “By reviving the Cheonan, South Korea has kept its promise to forever remember the sacrifices of heroes.

“The military will maintain a firm defence posture and continue to support the denuclearisation of North Korea and promote lasting peace based on ‘robust strength.'”

Cheonan is the seventh Daegu-class ship and is anticipated to be handed over to the service in 2023. The ships of the class are being manufactured under South Korea’s ‘FFX Batch-II’ frigate acquisition programme.

The ROK Navy seeks to acquire a total of eight vessels under the programme.

Earlier this month, the DAPA reportedly approved a new project to develop lightweight torpedoes.

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