Roks Wang Geon is deployed in reconnaissance and surveillance, anti-submarine, air and surface warfare operations.

Introduce

The Korean destroyer Wang Geon, bearing the hull number DDH-978, is one of South Korea’s most powerful fighting complexes at sea. Currently, in the Korean Navy, the Sejong the Great class destroyer is considered the most advanced with the Aegis combat system. These warships, combined with the Chungmugong Yi Sun-shin class, have created a strong enough naval force for Korea.

In 2002, Seoul launched the first Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin class destroyer and also named Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin, DDH-975. A year later, South Korea officially commissioned this ship for the navy. From then until 2008, Seoul in turn built 5 another ships of this class for the navy, and Wang Geon DDH-978 is also one of them.

Wang Geon was launched on May 4, 2005 and officially put into operation on November 10, 2006. Currently she is maintaining a positive presence in the Republic of Korea Navy, her combat capabilities are effective against both air, sea, and land targets.

Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin-class destroyers also known as DDH-II, were the second class of ships to be produced in the Republic of Korea Navy’s destroyer mass-production program named Korean Destroyer eXperimental, which paved the way for the navy to become a blue-water navy.

ROKS Wang Geon
ROKS Wang Geon

Design

Wang Geon and her sisters in this class is a ship with a standard displacement of 4,500 tons and near 5,000 tons under full load, with a hull design licensed from Germany’s IABG. The hull incorporates stealth technology for reduced infrared and radar cross section.  The ship has high survivability and can protect the crew from biochemical attacks.

The overall design of the ship includes slab-sided frontal and aft superstructures. DDH-978 is about 150 metres long, 17 metres wide and a draft of 5m. Her main mast is enclosed and her smoke funnel well-integrated into her profile.

The ship has two superstructures, the main mast is behind the first superstructure and is clearly identified by its row of large windows. It containing the sensors, communications, and processing systems.

The enclosed smoke funnel resides amidships with a pair of anti-ship missile quad launchers. Next is the second superstructure containing air search and fire control systems along its roof as well as additional defensive weaponry. The DDH-978 arranges a helicopter deck and a hangar in the stern with full service for two Super Lynx helicopters. She can complement a crew of 200 members.

Propulsion

Wang Geon’s propulsion unit is a Combined Diesel Or Gas unit, integrating two LM2500 gas turbines and two MTU diesel engines. This system provides a total power output of 64,960 horsepower, capable of propelling her at speeds of up to 30 knots and a cruising range of 4,000 nautical miles at 18 knots.

Armament

The ship has a 32-cell Mk 41 vertical launch system for SM-2 Block IIIB surface-to-air missiles, she can upgrade to a 64 cell system with options such as Hong-Sang-Eo rocket-based torpedo or Hyunmoo III Ship-to-shore cruise missiles.

The main gun fitted forward of these cells is a 127mm Mk 45 Mod 4 cannon with unobstructed views over the bow and to either side of the forward hull. It has a rate of fire of 16 to 20 rounds a minute and a maximum range of 24km.

The close-in air defence is provided by a 30mm Goalkeeper close-in weapon system, a RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile launcher provides close-in defense against inbound aerial threats.

Wang Geon is fitted with two triple 324mm anti-submarine torpedo tubes and vertical launchers for firing torpedoes and Harpoon anti-submarine missiles, these launchers were placed at the midships.

Sensor and Electronic systems

The electronics suite includes one Raytheon AN/SPS-49 2D long-range radar, one Thales Nederland MW08 target indication 3D radar, two Thales Nederland STIR240 fire-control radars with OT-134A Continuous Wave Illumination transmitters.

Electronic countermeasures are based on SONATA SLQ-200 electronic warfare system developed by LIG Nex1. There are four chaff radar countermeasure launchers to help disrupt tracking threats to the ship. The onboard early warning system helps the ship detects the radio wave signals emitted by the enemy radars and missiles and simultaneously transmits jamming signals to defeat multiple threats for enhancing the survivability of the ship.

Operations

Wang Geon is deployed in reconnaissance and surveillance, anti-submarine, air and surface warfare operations. The destroyer conducts strikes on the strategic and tactical targets and can also serve as a main warship of a manoeuvre warfare group.

Most recently, the Defense Ministry of South Korea on January 21, 2020, said Wang Geon and a crew of 300 were deployed to the Strait of Hormuz on an independent mission. This was a decision that followed months of US pressure to find ways to ease tensions with Iran.

Seoul is facing a dilemma, trying to balance the need for support with its decades-old ally the United States and avoid alienating Iran, one of the few countries that has diplomatic relations with both North and South Korea.

South Korea will deploy troops to the strategic waterway by expanding operational areas of the Cheonghae Unit, which has been on an anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia since 2009.

It is known that more than 70% of South Korea’s imported oils are transported through the Strait of Hormuz and Korean ships pass through the area about 900 times per year.

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