A Summary of the Previous Year in the Global Warship Market: Asian Countries Diversify Sources of Supply (Part 2)

26 Temmuz 2019
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You can read the analysis published in the 70th Issue of MSI Turkish Defence Review here:

 

Sinan TOPUZ / sinantopuz1990@gmail.com

 

This latest offering to the series of articles detailing the warship procurement efforts of various countries over the last year featured in MSI TDR continues with its look at Asia (part two), excluding China, as the largest market in the continent, which will be discussed in a separate article.

The frigates built by Hyundai Heavy Industries for the Philippines were developed based on the design of the Incheon-class vessels of the Republic of Korea Navy.

The frigates built by Hyundai Heavy Industries for the Philippines were developed based on the design of the Incheon-class vessels of the Republic of Korea Navy.

 

The Philippines

The Philippines has the weakest naval force among the Southeastern Asian countries considering the coastal length. As of August 2018, the country has allocated $2.4 billion from its five-year budget for the supply of frigates, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles and radar systems.

A model of Hyundai Heavy Industries frigates built for the Philippines, showcased during Asian Defence and Security (ADAS) 2018.

A model of Hyundai Heavy Industries frigates built for the Philippines, showcased during Asian Defence and Security (ADAS) 2018.

 

The first weld on the second 2,600 ton frigate to be built under an agreement concluded with Hyundai Heavy Industries in 2016 was made in September 2018, while the keel of the first was placed on the slipway in October 2018. Under the agreement, valued at $304 million per ship, the first two ships are expected to be delivered in March and September 2020. A further $38 million has been allocated for the weapon systems to be installed on the frigates. During the procurement process of the vessels, the Commander of the Philippine Navy was dismissed due to problems in warfare and the warfare management systems. [1]

 

The launch ceremony for the first of Singapore’s Type-2018 SG submarines was held in February.

The launch ceremony for the first of Singapore’s Type-2018 SG submarines was held in February.

 

Singapore

As the fifth country in the world in terms of defence spending as a percentage of GDP, Singapore continues its defence investments with great determination. Not content with developing its modern submarine and ship fleet, Singapore is also investing in its air forces, and plans to add the F-35 to its fleet that currently consists of F-16s and F-15s. Hosting the US P-8 maritime patrol aircraft and Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) paves the way for Singapore for the alliance with US.

With the launch of the eighth and final Littoral Mission Vessel (LMV), Singapore has concluded a highly important domestic modernization project, and all of the 1,250-ton vessels are planned to be operational by 2020.

After entering into an agreement with ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) in 2013 for the supply of two submarines, Singapore procured two further submarines from TKMS, and announced in 2017 that the number of vessels had been increased to four. The first of these submarines, which features an air-independent propulsion system, classified as Type 218 SG, was launched in Germany in February and is expected to be delivered in 2021, while the final ship will be delivered in 2024. It has been stated in the press that compared to equivalent vessels, type 218 SG submarines feature more sophisticated automation systems. This will allow Singapore to shorten shift times and to reduce the overall number of personnel required. The vessels have been specially designed for Singapore’s relatively salty and more corrosive waters. Another factor considered in the design of vessels is the anthropologically smaller body size of Singaporean mariners [2], which brings to mind the corvettes ordered by Brunei from BAE Systems in 1995. When Brunei reversed its decision to purchase the ships following disagreements, the company had trouble finding a new customer for the corvettes, which had not been equipped with heaters since they were intended to operate in tropical waters, and which were designed for relatively shorter mariners. The corvettes were eventually sold to Malaysia in 2007 through Lürssen.

The P-8 maritime patrol aircraft is in the sights of both Singapore and the Republic of Korea.

The P-8 maritime patrol aircraft is in the sights of both Singapore and the Republic of Korea.

 

Republic of Korea

After losing the Po Hang-class Cheonan corvette to a submarine of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in 2010, the Republic of Korea has attached great importance to the modernisation of its submarines. Under the Type 214 KSS-II program of the Republic of Korea Navy, the eighth vessel was commissioned in January 2018. The first submarine in the 3,000-ton KSS-III program run by Daewoo Shipyard was launched in September 2018. The submarine, with a price tag of around $900 million, is expected to be delivered to the Republic of Korea Navy in 2020 or 2021. In September 2018, the United States approved the sale of six P-8 maritime patrol aircraft to the Republic of Korea for $2.1 billion.

ROKS Lee Bum Seok, the eighth in the KSS-II series of submarines of the Republic of Korea, at the launch ceremony.

ROKS Lee Bum Seok, the eighth in the KSS-II series of submarines of the Republic of Korea, at the launch ceremony.

 

The Republic of Korea previously built nine 1,200-ton Chang Bogo-class submarine, a variant of the TKMS Type 209, under the KSS-I program, and then initiated the KSS-II program for the construction of Son Won II submarines, a variant of the Type 214. The 3,000-ton submarine launched in September 2018 is the first vessel in the recent KSS-III program through which a total of nine submarines are planned to be produced in two groups. Under the program, the six vessels to be built in the first group will have six vertical launch tubes, while the other three 3,500-ton vessels, which are expected to be commissioned in around 2029, will have 10 vertical launch tubes. The vertical tubes will give the Republic of Korea Navy the capability to launch ballistic missiles from submarines. [5]

In February 2018, the Republic of Korea Navy took delivery of the first ship constructed by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) under the FFX-II frigate program, planned for the procurement of up to eight ships. In November 2018, a $558 million contract was signed with DSME for the fifth and sixth ships, which are to be delivered in 2022.

In 2018, the Republic of Korea ordered three more KDX-III Sejong the Great-class destroyers.

In 2018, the Republic of Korea ordered three more KDX-III Sejong the Great-class destroyers.

 

Finally, the Ministry of National Defence of the Republic of Korea has approved the construction of three KDX-III Sejong the Great-class destroyers and three KSS-III diesel-electric submarines in May, allocating a budget of $6.3 billion for this purpose.

The Republic of Korea launched the second 14,300-ton Dokdo class amphibious transport ship in May 2018 and a 4,500-ton training ship, which can also serve as an hospital ship, in June 2018. The Republic of Korea is also considering the deployment of F-35Bs aboard its Dokdo-class ships.

 

Sri Lanka took delivery of the second SLOPV vessel last year. The first vessel, SLNS Sayurala (P623), during the AMAN 2019 exercise.

Sri Lanka took delivery of the second SLOPV vessel last year. The first vessel, SLNS Sayurala (P623), during the AMAN 2019 exercise.

 

Sri Lanka

In April 2018, the Sri Lanka Navy received the second of the 2,350-ton 105-meter Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) ordered from the Indian GOA Shipyard under the SLOPV (Sri Lanka Offshore Patrol Vessel) project.

 

Taiwan

Given its close proximity to China and with scenarios related to Chinese interventions in mind, Taiwan is making the effort to build its own submarine. Facing the threat an intervention from China, Taiwan is seeking to obtain technological support from the United States to produce its indigenous submarines.

In November 2018, two former Perry-class (Gabya class in Turkey) ships procured under a $177 million agreement were commissioned in Taiwan, and AN/SQR-19 array sonars, which were previously prohibited from being transferred to Taiwan, were also delivered to the country. Taiwan has eight more Perry-class ships that it has built itself.

In June 2018 it was reported that one Indian company and two European companies would support the construction of the submarine, and in September 2018 it was said that the submarines would be based on a European design, although the design company is not certain. In April, it was announced that a contract for the design of the submarine had been concluded and that the project had entered the next stage.

 

Thailand

The Daewoo Shipyard delivered a 3,650-ton frigate to the Royal Thai Navy in December, with the first vessel in the two-ship project being built in the Republic of Korea, while the second will be built in Thailand through technology transfer. A $410 million contract for 124-meter frigates was signed in 2013. The ships are very similar in design to the KDX-1 designed by the same shipyard and used by the Republic of Korea Navy. [7] Daewoo has selected Saab for the integration of combat management system and radar.

Thailand also collaborated with Saab on the modernisation of its two 2,900-ton Naresuan-class frigates and its aircraft carrier.

 

Vietnam

After purchasing six Kilo-class submarines from Russia, Vietnam laid the keel of a 93-meter and 4,000-ton submarine rescue ship on the slipway in Hanoi in May 2018.

 

References

  1. Daily Mail, Philippine navy chief sacked for ‘jeopardising’ frigate deal, December 20, 2017, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-5197467/Philippine-navy-chief-sacked-jeopardising-frigate-deal.html, Date of Access: March 25, 2019
  2. Lim Min Zhang, February 18, 2019, Singapore The Strait Times, Customisation of Type 218SG submarine includes use of materials suited to saltier Singapore waters, https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/customisation-of-type-218sg-submarine-includes-use-of-materials-suited-to-saltier, Date of Access: March 29, 2019
  3. Naval Technology, Nakhoda Ragam Class, https://www.naval-technology.com/projects/nakhoda/
  4. David Robertson, The Times, Brunei to sell warships worth £600m after dispute with BAE, July 5, 2007, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/brunei-to-sell-warships-worth-pound600m-after-dispute-with-bae-sr82x7lsnp8, Date of Access: March 29, 2019
  5. Franz Stephan Gady, , South Korea Launches First-of-Class 3,000-ton KSS-III Diesel-Electric Attack Submarine, September 14, 2018, The Diplomat, https://thediplomat.com/2018/09/south-korea-launches-first-of-class-3000-ton-kss-iii-diesel-electric-attack-submarine/, Date of Access: March 29, 2019
  6. Mike Ye Japan, December 26, 2017, South Korea may refit naval ships for F-35 fighters, Defence News, https://www.defensenews.com/global/asia-pacific/2017/12/26/japan-south-korea-may-refit-naval-ships-for-f-35-fighters/, Date of Access: March 30, 2019,
  7. Naval Today, January 8 2019, Thailand welcomes South Korean built frigate,  https://navaltoday.com/2019/01/08/thailand-welcomes-south-korean-built-frigate/, Date of Access: March 29, 2019

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