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Sejong the Great class

Guided missile destroyer

Sejong the Great class destroyer

The Sejong the Great class are among the largest, heaviest, and the most technically advanced destroyers built to date

 
 
Country of origin South Korea
Entered service 2008
Crew 300 men
Sea endurance ?
Dimensions and displacement
Length 165 m
Beam 21 m
Draught 6 m
Displacement, standard 7 700 tons
Displacement, full load 11 000 tons
Propulsion and speed
Speed 30+ knots
Range 10 186 km at 20 knots
Propulsion 4 x General Electric LM2500 gas turbines driving 2 shafts with 100 000 shp
Airwing
Helicopters 2 x Super Lynx of SH-60 Seahawk
Armament
Artillery 1 x 127 mm/62 Mk-45 Mod 4, 1 x 30 mm Goalkeeper CIWS
Missiles 1 x RAM Block 1, 16 x SSM-700K Hae Sung AShM, RIM-66M-5 Standard SAM, Hyunmoo III cruise missiles, Red Shark SUwM
Torpedoes 6 x K745 Blue Shark torpedoes

 

   The Sejong the Great class destroyers are among the most advanced warships afloat today. They were developed under the KDX-III program, which sought to provide the South Korean Navy with a world-class destroyer capable of meeting virtually any threat at sea, on land, or in the air.

   The design of these vessels borrows heavily from features of the American Arleigh Burke class and the Japanese Atago class, and shares numerous common components and systems as well, but has a largely original construction and composition. Moreover, with a combat displacement of some 11 000 tons (practically making these vessels Cruisers), the Sejong the Great class destroyers are substantially heavier. The wider hull flare and bulkier superstructure are also very different from the Arleigh Burke class, though the Atago class has a similar shape. Also as with the Arleigh Burke class, the structural components (hull, bulkheads, decks, hatches, etc.) of the Sejong the Great class are almost entirely steel in composition.

   There are three vessels in the class; the DDG-991 Sejong the Great, DDG-992 Yulgok Yi I, and DDG-993 Seoae Ryu Seong-ryong. Named after prominent figures of the Joseon Dynasty, they were commissioned in 2008, 2012, and 2014, respectively. The DDG-991 Sejong the Great and DDG-993 Seoae Ryu Seong-ryong were constructed by the Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) shipyard in Ulsan, while the DDG-992 Yulgok Yi I was constructed by the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering shipyard in Opko.

   Likely owing to the use of only fully-developed technologies and subsystems, the Sejong the Great class destroyers cost only $923 million per-vessel. It is worth noting that his price tag makes these among the most inexpensive Aegis warships ever constructed.

   Sensors consist of four AN/SPY-1D(V) phased array radar sets, an AN/SPG-62 fire control radar, a DSQS-21BZ hull mounted sonar, an MTeQ towed array sonar system, and a Sagem Infrared Search & Track (IRST) system. The AN/SPY-1D(V) is capable of being used as a passive radar, and the Sagem IRST is already a passive system, giving the Sejong the Great class immense situational awareness capabilities even at a maximum Emissions Control (EMCON) state, giving it substantial stealth capability.

   Propulsion for the Sejong the Great class is four General Electric LM2500 gas turbines driving two shafts with 100 000 shp. Additional power for the ship's systems is provided by three Rolls-Royce AG9140RF gas turbine generators, as the electrical power demand of the class' systems is too great for the LM2500's alternators alone. Enough fuel bunkerage is provided for a 10 186 km (5 500 nm) range at 20 knots, and the full speed of the class is approximately 30 knots. Two rudders are fitted, allowing for a relatively small minimum turning circle.

   The weapons, sensors, fire controls, propulsion, and other systems are fully-automated, and networked together via the Aegis combat information system; the version currently used in the Sejong the Great class is Baseline 7 Phase 1. This system allows the ship to detect, identify, evaluate, and engage targets with no input from the crew, other than the decision to engage. The system can also display several-thousand contacts, and track and/or engage up to 100 simultaneously. It is also possible for the crew to operate these systems manually, as in earlier guided missile warships, without using the Aegis system. The class also has a Maritime Air Support Operation Centre (MASOC) system, allowing it to coordinate the operations of all friendly tactical aircraft in the vicinity.

   The stern is covered by a large helicopter landing pad, and there are two hangars. The total capacity is two helicopters, which can be expanded to three, if an additional helicopter is kept on the landing pad. The maintenance and storage facilities have space and equipment for either the Super Lynx or SH-60 Seahawk.

   The missile battery of the Sejong the Great class is exceptional. Not even including the 21-cell RAM launcher, or even the 16 Hyunmoo III anti-ship missiles, they carry an incredible 128 missiles in three different VLC launch cell pads (one forward with 48 cells, one aft with 32 cells, and another 48-cell pad aft). This is a much larger stock of missiles than the 96 cells found on the Arleigh Burke class, though it is still second-place to the Kirov class battlecruisers (which have the world's largest missile battery, at 352 missiles).

   The variety of missiles carried by the Sejong the Great class is staggering as well. These include the RIM-66M-5/SM-2ER Block IV Standard SSM-700K Haeseong with a range of 240 km, the Hyunmoo IIIB land attack cruise missile with a range of 1 000 km, the SSM-700K Haeseong anti-ship missile with a range of 150 km, the Red Shark (also called the K-ASROC) anti-submarine missile with a 18.5 km range, and the RIM-116B RAM surface to air missile with a range of 7.4 km. The K745 Blue Shark torpedo has an effective range of 18.5 km.

   Though only two gun systems are carried, these are also quite formidable. The Mk-45 Mod 4 127-mm/62 dual-purpose gun fires 30.7 kg projectiles at a rate of fire of 20 rounds/minute, with a maximum range of 38.4 km, and is capable of engaging land targets, ships, aircraft, and even missiles. The Goalkeeper 30 mm CIWS fires 0.4 kg projectiles at up to 4 200 rounds/minute, with an effective range of 3 km, and can be used against watercraft as well as aircraft and missiles.

   The complete ammunition loadout for the Sejong the Great class includes (but is likely not limited to) 680 127 mm shells, 1 190 30 mm shells, 21 RAM missiles, 6 Blue Shark torpedoes, and 16x SSM-700K Hae Sung missiles. The VLS load-out is variable, but the standard configuration consists of 80 SM-2 Standard missiles, 32 Hyunmoo IIIB missiles, and 16 Red Shark missiles. The loadout for the additional munitions carried by the helicopters is unknown.

   In 2012, the ROKN formally made a request to the government for three additional Aegis warships, with an eye toward having them in commission by 2027. If these vessels are authorized, it is likely that they will be additional Sejong the Great class destroyers, or possibly an evolved version of the design.

   The manufacturers retain the ability to construct additional Sejong the Great class, but it is unknown as of late 2015 if any other will be ordered by the ROKN, and very unlikely that KDX-III type vessels would be offered for export, as many of its key technologies are classified and/or barred from further proliferation by the US government.

   Barring unforeseen developments, the Sejong the Great class destroyers will remain in service until at least the mid-2030s.

 

Related Vessels

 

   Arleigh Burke class: US Destroyer class, and the design basis of the Sejong the Great class.

   Kongo class: Japanese variant of the Arleigh Burke class.

   Atago class: Japanese destroyer class, with a similar design to the Sejong the Great class.

   Type 052D class: Chinese destroyers, generally considered to be comparable in capability to Aegis warships. They are also similar in layout to the Sejong the Great class.

   Type 055 class: New class of Chinese destroyers in development, with a similar design to the Sejong the Great class.

 

Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Status
Sejongdaewang (Sejong the Great) (DDG-991) ? 2007 2008

active, in service

Yulgok Yi I (DDG-992) ? 2008 2012

active, in service

Seoae Ryu Seong-ryong (DDG-993) ? 2011 2014

active, in service

 

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Sejong the Great class

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Sejong the Great class

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Sejong the Great class

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Sejong the Great class

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Sejong the Great class

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Sejong the Great class

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Sejong the Great class

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Sejong the Great class

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Sejong the Great class

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Sejong the Great class

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Sejong the Great class

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