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(LEAD) S. Korea launches new naval frigate on 74th anniversary of Navy foundation

Defense 15:20 November 11, 2019

(ATTN: RECASTS headline; UPDATES paras 1-2 with ceremony taking place; ADDS more details in last 4 paras)

SEOUL, Nov. 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korea launched a new frigate on Monday featuring advanced sonar and power systems to boost anti-submarine capabilities in coastal operations, the Navy said.

The launch ceremony for the 2,800-ton FFG-II Seoul took place at Hyundai Heavy Industries Co.'s shipyard in the southeastern port city of Ulsan, according to the Navy.

It is the third frigate being built under the project to secure a second batch of such vessels to replace the Navy's aging frigates and patrol combat corvettes.

The 122-meter-long ship is equipped with guided missiles and guns and can carry a helicopter for marine operations, the Navy said.

The latest version, in particular, boasts of advanced anti-submarine patrol and combat capabilities, as it employs an advanced sonar system as well as a hybrid propulsion system that reduces the level of noise the vessel makes underwater, it added.

It will be delivered to the military in early 2021 after additional preparations are completed, and several more vessels of this class will be built by the early 2020s, according to the Navy.

Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo attended the ceremony and celebrated the launch of the new frigate as well as the 74th anniversary of the foundation of the Navy.

"Uncertainties in regional maritime security situations have continued due to feuds over maritime jurisdiction and freedom of navigation ... Under these circumstances, we should secure more powerful naval capabilities," Jeong said in his congratulatory remarks.

"We will firmly protect national security and maritime sovereignty by perfectly carrying out all missions in seas surrounding the Korean Peninsula and the world," he added.

The Navy was founded on Nov. 11, 1945, as the first branch of military service in South Korea following the liberation from Japan's colonial rule.

This image provided by the Navy shows South Korea's new 2,800-ton FFG-II frigate named Seoul. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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