Pohang class patrol combat corvettes are primarily operated by the Republic of Korea Navy. Credit: Republic of Korea Armed Forces.
Pohang class ships are preceded by Donghae class corvette. Credit: US Army Garrison Casey.
PCC Cheonan sunk due to torpedo attack in March 2010. Credit: US Army Garrison Casey.

The Pohang is a class of patrol combat corvette (PCC) of the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN). A total of 24 ships were built by Korea Shipbuilding Corporation, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Daewoo Shipbuilding, and Korea Takoma. Pohang class is preceded by Donghae class corvette.

The lead ship in the class, Pohang (PCC-756), was delivered to ROKN in 1984. Remaining ships, including Gunsan (PCC-757), Gyeongju (PCC-758), Mokpo (PCC-759), Gimcheon (PCC-761), Chungju (PCC-762), Jinju (PCC-763), Yeosu (PCC-765), Jinhae (PCC-766), Suncheon (PCC-767), Iri (PCC-768), Wonju (PCC-769), Andong (PCC-771), Cheonan (PCC-772), Bucheon (PCC-773), Seongnam (PCC-775), Jecheon (PCC-776), Daecheon (PCC-777), Sokcho (PCC-778), Yeongju (PCC-779), Namwon (PCC-781), Gwangmyeong (PCC-782), Sinseong (PCC-783), and Gongju (PCC-785) were delivered by 1993.

The Pohang class ships are divided into anti-surface warfare (ASUW) and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) variants, according to the weapon systems fitted onboard. The ASUW type includes four ships and ASW type comprises 20 ships. ROKN currently operates 22 Pohang class corvettes. The first ship in the class, Pohang, was retired and used for training exercises. Cheonan was sunk by the torpedo attack from North Korea in March 2010.

The Pohang class corvettes will be replaced with the new generation Incheon class frigates.

Pohang class missions

The primary mission of the corvette is coastal line patrolling. Pohang class is deployed as the main force to monitor defence in the South Korean coast. These ships were equipped to perform anti-submarine, anti-ship, and anti-aircraft warfare operations in the littoral environment.

Pohang class corvettes design

The external form of the Pohang class corvettes is identical to the Tonghae class. The versatile design allows the operators to equip the ship for multi-role missions.

“The versatile design allows the operators to equip the ship for multi-role missions.”

Pohang class has a length of 88.3m, a beam of 10m, and a draft of 3m. Displacement of the ship is 1,200t and it can accommodate more than 90 crew members.

Pohang class armament

The ASUW type ships are armed with two MM-38 Exocet anti-ship missiles, while ASW variants are equipped with four Harpoon anti-ship missiles. The MM-38 is a short-range ship-launched cruise missile developed by MBDA. The missile has a maximum range of 40km and can carry a 165kg warhead.

The first four ships are fitted with an Oto Melara 76mm gun and two Emerson 30mm anti-aircraft guns. ASW type vessels are equipped with two OTO Melara 76mm guns and two Breda 40mm guns. Oto Melara has a rate of fire of 120 rounds a minute and a range of 16km.

Anti-submarine warfare

ASW variants are equipped with Mark 32 triple torpedo tubes for Mark 46 torpedoes. The tubes can launch six torpedoes against submarines.

The torpedo travels at a speed of 45k and is equipped with active and passive homing and a 44.5kg warhead. There are 12 Mark 9 depth charges also available for anti-submarine operations.

Pohang class countermeasures

The ASUW ships are equipped with Mel Protean chaff launchers. Each launcher comprises four cells with 36 grenades. The magazine can also be replaced with three IR flare containers, each accommodating 21 decoys. Other countermeasure equipment includes Thorn EMI or NobelTech intercept or jammer.

Sensors / radars

The Raytheon SPS-64 surface search radar, Signaal WM 28 fire control radar, Signaal LIOD (Lightweight Optronic Director) and SRN 15 TACAN (Tactical Air Navigation) Sonar are fitted on the ASUW type corvettes. The ASW type ships are equipped with Samsung or Marconi ST-1810 surface search radar, ST-1802 fire control radar, Samsung or Radamec 2400 optronic system and Signaal PHS-32 Hull mounted Sonar.


The Pohang Class corvettes are powered by a combined diesel or gas (CODOG) propulsion system. The system comprises two MTU diesel engines and an LM2500 gas turbine. The engines, driving two shafts through the gearboxes, provide 6,260SHP.

The propulsion system provides a maximum speed of 32k and a range of 4,000nm at a cruise speed of 15k.