February 3, 2013:
South Korea recently commissioned its first FFX frigate. The FFXs are 3,200 ton ships and are each armed with a 127mm gun, eight anti-ship or cruise missiles, three torpedo tubes, a RAM anti-missile launcher, and a Phalanx anti-missile gun system. There is space aft for two helicopters. The ships are highly automated, requiring a crew of only 140. Top speed is 61 kilometers an hour. Range is 8,000 kilometers. Most of the equipment (including electronics) and weapons are locally built. South Korea plans to build at least fifteen of these ships. The first six are all to be in service by 2015. The first ship in the class, the Ulsan, cost over $110 million. South Korea hopes to export the FFX to many navies who want a quality, low cost, warships. Meanwhile, South Korea has also built larger warships and is getting more into submarine production.