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R.O.Korea Navy News

[Sep. 21,1999]Defense Ministry eyes competition for Navy destroyer program

The Defense Ministry will select the main contractor for the $1-billion program to build three destroyers through open competition, dropping an earlier tentative selection of Hyundai Heavy Industries as contractor, officials said yesterday.

A ministry official said the change is based on revised regulations effective early this year, which call for open competition in the design and building of naval ships.

Hyundai was tentatively chosen in April 1996 as the contractor in designing of the ships, and recently requested the ministry select it as the main contractor of the whole program, the official said.

The ministry rejected the request, but advised Hyundai to join the competition, he said. The 1.24-trillion-won program requires the building of three 4,200-ton destroyers by the year 2005.

He said the regulations for open competition were made after Hyundai in 1997 insisted on joining a submarine-building program, then monopolized by rival Daewoo Heavy Industries.
[source: Korea Herald News]

[Sept. 3,1999]Pyongyang declares unilateral nullification of sea border

North Korea yesterday unilaterally declared "invalid" the Northern Limit Line, the disputed U.N.-imposed maritime border with South Korea in the West Sea, while threatening to use military force to defend its control in the contested waters.

The declaration came just a day after the generals' talks between the United Nations Command and North Korea to deal with the NLL issue ended in failure and Pyongyang military authorities warned that they would take "decisive measures."

"Our self-defensive right to the military demarcation line in the West Sea will be exercised by various means and methods," North Korea's military said in a special statement issued through its media.

"The NLL is an illegal line which the U.S. army unilaterally drew ignoring international law and the armistice agreement," the statement said. "It accordingly is a serious infringement of the sovereign right of our republic."

The sea border issue resurfaced when the two Koreas exchanged gunfire June 15 after North Korean fishing boats and torpedo boats crossed the line into the southern area for a few consecutive days. About 30 North Korean sailors were believed to have died, with one torpedo boat sunk and several others severely damaged.

In the UNC-North Korea general meetings, held for the eleventh time since the naval shootout, Pyongyang insisted the borderline be redrawn. Both the UNC and the South Korean government refused the demand.

The Seoul government refused to acknowledge the North's declaration, stressing that the NLL is an effective borderline that should be maintained by the two sides.

Brushing off the North Korean statement, a South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman said, "They're just up to their old, worn out tricks."

"The government would definitely defend the NLL until a new border line is set in a future joint committee between the two Koreas, " Defense Ministry spokesman Yoon Il-young said.
[source: Korea Herald News]

[Sep. 2,1999]Seoul, Moscow agree on joint naval drill

South Korea and Russia yesterday agreed that their navies will begin undertaking joint maritime search and rescue exercises next year.

The agreement was reached at a meeting between Defense Minister Cho Sung-tae and his Russian counterpart Igor Sergeyev. Sergeyev arrived in Seoul earlier in the day for a four-day visit to South Korea. Defense Ministry officials said working-level officials from the two countries will discuss details of the agreed-upon naval exercise. South Korea and Japan held the first-ever joint maritime rescue exercise in August in open seas south of Cheju-do.

Cho and Sergeyev also agreed to closely cooperate to dissuade North Korea from testing another ballistic missile, which they said poses a threat to security in the Northeast Asia. Sergeyev was quoted as saying Moscow was trying to convince North Korea through political and diplomatic channels to give up the plan, which has caused international concern. Moscow still maintains ties with Communist North Korea, though on a lesser scale than during the Soviet era.

Sergeyev expressed Moscow's support for Seoul's North Korea policy, the "sunshine policy," which he said contributes to maintaining peace on the Korean Peninsula.

The Russian defense minister's visit to Seoul came at a time when South Korea is seeking to enhance security ties with four powers - China, Japan, Russia and the United States.

Sergeyev expressed his hope that Seoul will buy three Russian Amur-class submarines and other weapons. Seoul is carefully weighing the feasibility of buying three lighter Kilo-class submarines from Russia in a politically motivated bid to improve ties with Moscow. But South Korea has yet to make a final decision. Russia has been exporting weapons to South Korea to pay off its Soviet-era debt of about $1.8 billion.

South Korea hopes that Russia will transfer its defense technology and that officials from both sides will convene a "joint committee on military technology, defense industry and logistics" in Moscow, Defense Ministry officials in Seoul said.

The two defense ministers also agreed to the need for signing a pact "to prevent dangerous military actions" between their two countries. The pact, first suggested by Russia in 1994, is intended to prevent hostile military action at sea between the navies of the two countries, officials said.

The Defense Ministry said working-level officials from the two countries will discuss the early signing of the treaty. They will also discuss the proposed establishment of an "emergency communication channel" between their two navies, the ministry said.

To increase the frequency of exchange visits of military personnel, Cho and Sergeyev also signed an agreement on military exchanges between their countries for the next two years. Under the agreement, the South Korean defense minister will visit Moscow and a fleet of South Korean naval ships will pay a good-will visit to a Russian port, while the Russian chief of staff will visit Seoul next year. In 2001, the Russian defense minister will visit South Korea and the South Korean chief of staff will visit Moscow.

Sergeyev is the third Russian defense minister to visit South Korea since Seoul and Moscow established diplomatic ties in 1990. He is scheduled to meet President Kim Dae-jung and visit South Korean military bases before leaving Seoul Sunday. Previous Russian defense ministers' visits here occurred in 1992 and 1995.

Defense Minister Cho visited Beijing Aug. 23-29 to talk with his Chinese counterpart Chi Haotian on regional security, including North Korea's plan to test another ballistic missile. He was the first South Korean defense minister to visit China.
[source : Korea Herald News]

[Sep. 1,1999] Russian defense minister expected to pitch submarine sales to Seoul

Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev will seek to negotiate on the sale of Russia's submarines and other weapons during his visit to South Korea, military officials in Seoul said yesterday.

During his visit, which will last from tomorrow to Saturday, Sergeyev is expected to offer South Korea three diesel-electric submarines of the Amur class, the officials said.

For years, Russia has been offering to sell Russian submarines to South Korea. But Seoul has yet to decide whether to purchase the Russian submarines. A group of South Korean officers from the Defense Ministry and the Navy will visit Russia this month to judge the capabilities of the submarine before Seoul makes a final decision.

The 2,600-ton Amur-class submarine can hold a crew of 34 and comes armed with torpedoes and missiles. It is capable of remaining underwater for 45 days.

Seoul is carefully weighing the feasibility of buying three lighter Kilo-class submarines from Russia as a politically motivated move to improve ties with Moscow.

Aside from the Russian submarines, South Korea plans to build three diesel-electric submarines with technological assistance from a foreign company. Seven companies, most of them based in Europe, are competing for participation in the program, code-named KSS-2.

But if Seoul decides not to buy the Russian submarines, the number of submarines to be built under the KSS-2 program will increase to six, a Navy official said.

Russia has been exporting weapons to South Korea to pay off its Soviet-era debt of about $1.8 billion. Moscow has already supplied $450 million worth of military supplies, including tanks, armored personnel carriers, portable air-defense missiles and helicopters.

Meeting South Korean Defense Minister Cho Sung-tae, Sergeyev also intends to discuss regional security issues, including North Korea's plan to test a new ballistic missile and U.S. plans to build anti-missile defenses that Russia opposes, as well as ways to further strengthen military exchanges between Seoul and Moscow.

Sergeyev said recently that Moscow was trying to convince North Korea through political and diplomatic channels to give up the plan, which has caused international concern. Moscow still maintains ties with communist North Korea, though on a smaller scale than during the Soviet era.
[source: Korea Herald News]

[August 31,1999] New locally developed destroyer to join Navy's fleet tomorrow

The Navy will commission a destroyer at a Daewoo shipyard on the southern island of Koje tomorrow.The 3,200-ton ship, christened Ulchimunduk, the name of an ancient Korean general, is the second ship to come out of a destroyer program, code-named KDX-1, that requires the acquisition of three roughly 3,000-ton destroyers. The first destroyer under KDX-1, King Kwanggaeto, was launched July 1998.

Designed and built by South Korean engineers, the destroyers are outfitted with Harpoon ship-to-ship missiles, Sea Sparrow ship-to-air missiles, a five-inch gun, torpedoes and sonar.

The third KDX-1 destroyer, Yangmanchun, has already been launched and is on a trial run before being commissioned.

The Navy is planning to acquire six 4,500-ton destroyers within the next seven to eight years under a program code-named KDX-2. Those destroyers will replace old warships South Korea purchased from the United States.

Air Force officials, meanwhile, disclosed a plan to purchase high-tech cameras for aerial reconnaissance from one of four foreign producers. The RF-4C reconnaissance aircraft will be equipped with an electro-optical photographic device that will be useful for the early warning of a North Korean military attack, an Air Force official said.

Four foreign companies are competing for participation in the $50 million program. They are Thomson of France, Raytheon and ROI of the United States and Elop of Israel. Representatives from each will be invited to a Defense Ministry presentation meeting today.

South Korea will select the contractor in March 2001.
[source : Korea Herald News]

[August 21,1999]Defense Ministry to select new submarine

The Defense Ministry yesterday invited representatives of seven foreign submarine manufacturers to compete for a contract to make at least three diesel-electric submarines for the South Korean Navy.

Ministry officials explained to the representatives the operational capabilities required by the Navy. "The one that presents the best price, technology transfer and operational capability will be selected as the contractor," a ministry official said. The ministry plans to select a foreign contractor by next April. The foreign contractor will provide technology to a South Korean company, which will build the submarines.

The representatives invited to the Defense Ministry meeting were from DCN of France, HDW of Germany, Fincantieri of Italy, RDM of Holland, Celcius AB of Sweden, ASC of Australia and Rosvoorouzhenie of Russia. The seven foreign companies will submit their proposals by the end of October.

South Korea is weighing the feasibility of buying three other submarines from Russia without competition to help improve ties with Moscow. But if Seoul decides not to buy the Russian Kilo-class submarines, the number of submarines to come out of the seven-nation competition will increase to six, Navy officials said.

The Navy requires the new submarines to weigh between 1,500 and 2,000 tons and to be equipped with an advanced battery system called Air Independent Propulsion (AIP). They must also have an advanced sonar called Flank Array Sonar, Harpoon sub-to-ship missiles, and an infrared periscope.

With the AIP, the new submarine would be able to operate underwater for 18 days without coming to the surface to recharge its battery. The Navy's existing 1,200-ton submarines need to emerge for recharging at least once every three days.

Officials said the first of the new submarines will be delivered in 2004 or 2005. They will join the nine submarines South Korea's Daewoo Heavy Industries has been building with Germany's HDW. The last of these diesel submarines will be delivered next year.
[Source : Korea Herald News]

[Aug. 18,1999]RoK to choose new naval defence system
BRYAN BENDER JDW Bureau Chief,Washington DC

A decision is expected shortly on the selection of a new inner layer missile system for the Republic of Korea Navy's new KDX Batch 2 destroyers.

Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) and Raytheon are competing for the contract, with best and final offers submitted to South Korea's Ministry of National Defence late last month. Thomson-CSF AirSys, which was offering the Crotale VL-VT1 system, has withdrawn from the competition. The fiercely contested competition is pitching IAI's Barak-1 system (developed in conjunction with Israeli armament development authority Rafael) against Raytheon's new Sea RAM mounting (being developed in partnership with RAM-System GmbH of Germany).

The two competing systems are significantly different in terms of ship-fit, range, and guidance and control method.Barak-1 is a vertically launched close-area defence missile, effective to ranges out to 8km, using command to line-of-sight guidance from separate tracking radars. The system is already in service with the navies of Israel, Chile and Singapore, its proven pedigree thought to be a major plus in the eyes of South Korea's Agency for Defence Development.

Sea RAM was launched by Raytheon last year. A fully autonomous, self-contained system, it features the mount and the search and tracking sensors of the Phalanx Block 1B close-in weapon system together with an 11-round launcher for the new Block 1 variant of the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM). RAM Block 1 features dual mode RF/IR guidance (with the capability for home all-the-way on IR) and is effective to ranges of about 4km.

Industry officials close to the programme say that the IAI offer is more expensive because it includes greater provision for Korean industry participation through Samsung and LG. They add that the Raytheon bid would be a US Foreign Military Sale a government-to-government deal with no transfer of technology provisions and less potential for local job creation.
[source : Jane's Information Group 1999 ]

[Aug. 5,1999]Korea, Japan to hold joint military exercise

    The navies of South Korea and Japan held a joint search-and-rescue exercise in international waters yesterday.

    The training session, during which the two countries' ships responded to a mock SOS call from a South Korean civilian vessel on fire, was part of the first joint military exercise between the two former historical foes.

    South Korean military officials in Seoul said the joint drill was conducted on seas off the southern island of Cheju, roughly equidistant from the two countries. Two South Korean navy vessels and three Japanese destroyers participated.

    Also taking part were about a dozen P-3C anti-submarine reconnaissance aircraft and helicopters from the two countries, the officials said. The search-and-rescue drill was the final phase of a five-day training exercise, which began Sunday with the arrival and deployment of Japanese ships in South Korean waters.

    The drills came amid heightened concerns Communist North Korea is preparing to test a long-range ballistic missile. The reclusive regime rattled nerves in the region by test-firing a missile a year ago that flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific.

    The Defense Ministry stressed that the exercise, involving 1,200 South Korean and Japanese sailors, was for peaceful purposes. North Korea denounced the exercise as a move by South Korea and Japan to launch a war against it. Despite prospering economic ties, Japan and South Korea have had few military exchanges because of their turbulent history.
    [ Korea Herald News ]

[July 27,1999]Korea, Japan to hold joint naval exercise next month

The South Korean and Japanese navies will conduct a joint search and rescue drill in waters between the two countries early next month, the Defense Ministry announced yesterdeay.

"The joint naval exercise Aug. 4-5 on the high seas between South Korea's Cheju and Japan's Kyushu is to expand bilateral military exchanges and cooperation for peaceful purposes," a ministry spokesman said.

Three Korean naval vessels and one helicopter will take part in the drill. Japan will dispatch three destroyers, one maritime reconnaissance plane and two or three helicopters from its maritime Self Defense Forces.

For transparancy in the drill and to prevent any misunderstanding by neighboring countries, Seoul wanted to ask Russia, China and North Korea to observe the exercise; but Japan reportedly rejected the idea.
[source : Korea Herald News ]

[June 30,1999]Vickers Ulstein propellers for ROK Navy destroyers

The first series of three destroyers in the Republic of Korea Navy KDX II programme will have Bird-Johnson controllable pitch propellers (CPP) manufactured under license by HanJung. Bird-Johnson is a company in the Vickers Ulstein Marine Systems division of Vickers plc specialising in naval propulsion systems.

HanJung of Changwon was established by the government to build propulsion systems under license exclusively for the Republic of Korea Navy. HanJung has received the advance order for the KDX II class propulsion systems. HanJung in turn has placed a contract with Bird-Johnson worth US$7 million for three shipsets of equipment based on Bird-Johnson's advanced XL CPP hub design and will provide the hydraulic systems, engineering and programme management. HanJung will supply this three shipset advance buy as government-furnished equipment to the shipyards.

Delivery of the first shipset of controllable pitch propeller equipment will start in December 2000, with completion of delivery of the third shipset in 2002.

Bird-Johnson has been awarded all CP propellers for new ROK Navy programmes since winning the KDX programme in 1994.
[ source : Defence Systems Daily ]

[June 17,1999]NK Boats Remain North of Sea Border

    NK patrol boat under attack

    A day after South and North Korean warships traded fire in the West Sea, North Korean patrol boats yesterday moved back near to the sea border, escorting their fishing vessels, but they didn't cross into Southern waters.

    Ten North Korean fishing boats were operating near the Northern Limit Line in the morning as their patrol boats took up positions five km north of the NLL.

    The South Korean Navy vessels stood at the ready to bump and push Northern vessels if they sailed back into Southern waters, but the Northern warships didn't move to cross the sea border.

    The Defense Ministry said they have yet to detect any sign of an armed provocation by North Korea. ``We think that the confrontation in the West Sea won't worsen further but we remain highly alert to counter any armed clashes,'' a ministry spokesman said.

    In an effort to cool the tense confrontation in the West Sea, South Korea kept its patrol ships south of the buffer zone, as Northern vessels didn't intrude into its waters.

    The United Nations Command kept its ``Defcon Three'' and ``Watchcon Two'' defense readiness orders alive yesterday out of fear that North Korea may launch retaliatory attacks at any time having suffered severe damage Tuesday.

    On Tuesday, South Korean warships sank one North Korean torpedo boat and badly damaged several others, one of which half-sunk, in the first serious naval clash between the two Koreas in the West Sea since the 1950-53 Korean War.

    The Joint Chiefs of Staff said four North Korean patrol boats and three torpedo ships intruded into South Korean waters and opened fire with 25-mm canon on Southern boats.

    The Southern Navy vessels returned fire immediately and sank a 40-ton torpedo boat about two km south of the NLL, which has served as the practical demarcation line separating the two Koreas for decades.

    A Defense Ministry official confirmed that one North Korean boat which had been damaged heavily during Tuesday's clash was towed away to Northern waters after the exchange of gunfire.

    The official also argued that Northern vessels began bump and push tactics against South Korean warships first before opening fire Tuesday. Initially, South Korean vessels were thought to have bumped and pushed the Northern ships first before the outbreak of the armed clash.

    The JCS also confirmed that the naval clash continued for about 14 minutes, not five minutes.

    Tuesday's naval clash was the worst incident since South Korean forces sank an intruding Northern spy boat off the southeastern coast last December.

    Although forces in the immediate area were on high alert, there was no sign of a wider North Korean alert.

    Meanwhile, U.S. forces in Korea have not been placed on a higher state of alert in the wake of Tuesday's clash but the USFK said it was monitoring the situation closely.

    ``We will take appropriate steps as required. Additionally, the threat condition status for the command has not changed. Updates to the status will be announced if the situation requires changes,'' the USFK said.
    [ Korea Times news ]

[June 15,1999]Minute-to-Minute Situation in S-N Clash

07:15: Five Northern fishing vessels cross the Northern Limit Line.

07:25: All 20 fishing vessels sail as far as 2.5 km south of the NLL.

07:55: Two North Korean patrol boats cross the NLL.

08:30: Two more Northern patrol boats cross the NLL.

09:07: A South Korean patrol vessel bumps a 420-ton Northern ship to force it out of Southern waters.

09:20: A Southern vessel bumps a 80-ton Northern ship.

09:25: The 420-ton Northern patrol boat fires at South Korean vessels and Southern ships, backed by a PCC patrol vessel, return fire. One of the Northern torpedo boat and another patrol boat are sunk, 3 other NK patrol boats are damaged and back to North. One SKs PCC and one SKs patrol boat are damaged partilly while 7 SKs crews are injured by this clash.

09:35: South Korean fishing vessels are ordered to withdraw from the area.

10:00: Intruding Northern vessels retreat north of the NLL. Southern Armed Forces in the five western islands are ordered to brace for an all-out battle.
[ Korea Times News and partially updated ]

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