South Korean launches second Incheon-class frigate

The Korean Incheon-class frigate is a ‘coastal defence frigate’ that will replace the aging Pohang-class corvettes in their patrol and maritime security rôle. The building programme is scheduled to place 15 ships in service by 2020.

South Korea launches second Incheon frigate

South Korea has launched its second Incheon-class FFX coastal defense vessel, Yonhap news agency reported.

SEOUL, July 25 (UPI) — South Korea has launched its second Incheon-class FFX coastal defense vessel, Yonhap News Agency reported.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and senior naval officials attended the launching ceremony for the 2,300-ton frigate Gyeonggi at Hyundai Heavy Industry’s shipyard in the southeastern city of Ulsan.

The Incheon, lead vessel in the class, was designed under the government’s Future Frigate Experimental program and launched in January.

Yonhap reported naval officials said the Gyeonggi — named after Gyeonggi province that surrounds Seoul — will be delivered to the navy next year and deployed for operation in 2015.

The Incheon is expected to be commissioned next year.

About 20 frigates will be built to replace the country’s aging Ulsan and Pohang patrol escort ships by 2020. The vessels were built between the early 1980s and the early 1990s.

The Pohang-class vessels were built by Korea Shipbuilding Corp., Hyundai Heavy Industries, Daewoo Shipbuilding and Korea Takoma. Hyundai Heavy Industries also built the Ulsan guided missile ships.

The Incheon and Gyeonggi vessels are South Korea’s first coastal patrol vessels built after the sinking of the patrol ship Cheonan — a Pohang-class ship — allegedly by North Korea in March 2010. The incident raised many questions by South Korean politicians and defense analysts about the condition of the navy’s equipment.

The 1,200-ton naval corvette Cheonan sank rapidly after an explosion from a suspected torpedo ripped the vessel in half. It sank just more than 1 mile southwest of Baeknyeong Island near the de facto sea border with North Korea.

North Korea consistently denies it had anything to do with the sinking.

The South Korean government also became concerned the country’s maritime protection was left wanting in the face of increasing intrusions by foreign fishing ships, especially Chinese and North Korean, into its economic zones.

In December 2011, then-South Korean President Lee Myung-bak called for “strong” measures to protect the country’s coast guard sailors during an increasing crackdown on illegal fishing by Chinese boats. Lee said he wanted no repeat of the attack earlier that month on two coast guard sailors during a raid on a Chinese boat suspected of fishing illegally in South Korean waters earlier.

A coast guard officer allegedly was stabbed by the captain of the Chinese fishing boat and died shortly after in hospital. Another coast guard member was stabbed but lived, Yonhap reported.

The confrontation between the coast guard and Chinese fishing vessel was one of the most difficult in years, said the team that boarded the ship, a report in Joongang Daily said at the time.

Final design for Britain’s new Tide-class fleet tankers

Britain’s Royal Fleet Auxiliary should see its first Tide-class fleet replenishment oiler ready for handover in 2015, in time to support the Royal Navy‘s new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.

Incoming Tides – as designs for Navy’s new tankers are completed

Work will begin on the Navy’s next-generation tankers in a year’s time after design teams in the UK completed their plans for the four vessels.

RFA Tidespring, Tiderace, Tidesurge and Tideforce will provide the Fleet – including the giant future carriers – with fuel, water, spare parts and other supplies for a quarter of a century once they enter service from 2015.

As a Merlin hovers over its flight deck carrying a slung load, tanker RFA Tidespring pumps fuel into aviation training and casualty treatment ship RFA Argus. Picture: BMT Defence Services

This is the latest artist’s impression of the Navy’s next-generation tankers as the design for the quartet of new ships reaches its final stages.

In around 12 months’ time the first steel will be cut on Tidespring, the first of the new 37,000-tonne vessels which will provide fuel, water, stories and supplies to sustain the Fleet – and especially its new carriers – around the world.

The Queen Elizabeth battle group with an Astute-class submarine, two Type 45 destroyers, the carrier herself and one Tide-class tanker.

Hundreds of design drawings and plans have been drawn up by BMT Defence Services, working with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary. Scale models have been built and tested in the gigantic water tank at Haslar in Gosport, where Tidespring ‘refuelled’ HMS Queen Elizabeth in various sea conditions.

With the designs for the £450m quartet – RFA Tidespring, Tiderace, Tidesurge and Tideforce – now complete, it’s down to Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering to draw up the detailed plans so they can begin construction next year.

The ships will carry 19,000 cubic metres – more than seven times the capacity of an Olympic-sized swimming pool – of fuel for a ship’s engines and aircraft.

Accurate replica models of Queen Elizabeth and Tidespring in the test tank at Haslar.

A new replenishment at sea rig has been built at HMS Raleigh in Torpoint to practise using both the new tankers and the ‘reception areas’ on the Queen Elizabeth-class carriers.

As well as both the tankers and the carriers being much bigger than their predecessors, the tankers should also be able to deliver their supplies up to two and a half times faster than the vessels which have gone before them.

“A Range Rover’s fuel tank connected to all four 7in hoses on the starboard size of a Tide tanker would be full in 0.12 seconds,” said naval architect Mark Lewis from the future tanker project.

“Unfortunately, the fuel would be passing through a standard petrol station’s nozzle at around Mach 2 – and completely destroy your vehicle.”

The Tides will be much more than mere floating filling stations. There’s space for eight ISO containers on the forecastle, holding anything from humanitarian aid to large stores or kit for special missions.

A Type 45 destroyer takes on fuel from a Tide-class tanker.

ypically the ships will have a crew of 63, including 17 officers and 12 senior ratings. But there is accommodation on board for another 45 souls, such as RFA sailors undergoing training, Royal Marines and the ship’s helicopter; the flight deck can take a Merlin if required.

All four ships will be built at Daewoo’s yard at Okpo-dong in south-east South Korea which produces 70 commercial and specialist ships – such as the South Korean Navy’s destroyers – every year.

From the first steel being cut to launch will take each ship around ten months. After undergoing sea trials off the Korean peninsula, the ships will be brought to Britain where they’ll undergo ‘customisation’ – fitting classified and UK-only systems on board to support their mission alongside the RN.

Tidespring is due to be handed over to the MOD in October 2015, with the final vessel, Tideforce, completed in April 2017. All are expected to serve at least a quarter of a century.