South Korea on Thursday unveiled its third naval destroyer outfitted with Aegis missile defense technology as part of military efforts to thwart potential new North Korean hostilities, the Korea Herald reported (see GSN, Jan. 7).
Following its ceremonial launching from the shipyard in the seaside city of Ulsan, the Seoae Ryu Seong-ryong destroyer is to undergo an assessment period before being turned over to the South Korean navy in the last six months of 2012, officials said. It is anticipated to begin its maritime duties midway through 2013.
Developed by U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin, the Aegis system's radar has the ability to spot at the same time approximately 1,000 aircraft at distances of hundreds of kilometers, according to the South Korean navy. The Seoae Ryu Seong-ryong also carries long and medium range sea-to-air missiles, ship-to-ship missiles and torpedoes.
Seoul has spent approximately $2.67 billion building its fleet of Aegis destroyers. Its first Aegis battleship entered into service in December 2008 and its second began operational deployment in September 2010 (Song Sang-ho, Korea Herald, March 24).