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The Sejong the Great-class destroyers (Sejongdaewang-Geup Guchukam or Hangul: 세종대왕급 구축함, Hanja: 世宗大王級驅逐艦), also known as KD-III, are three guided missile destroyers of the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN). The second ship was commissioned in August 2010 and the third in August 2012. As at 2013, the ROKN has deployed three ships with an option for three more; in December 2013 the option to acquire the second three was taken up.[3]

ROKS Sejong the Great (DDG 991) broadside view.jpg
ROKS Sejong the Great (DDG-991)
Class overview
Operators:  Republic of Korea Navy
Preceded by: Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin class
Cost: $923 million (per ship)[1]
Planned: 6
Building: 3
Completed: 3
Cancelled: 0
Active: 3
General characteristics
Type: Destroyer
  • 8,500 tons standard displacement
  • 11,000 tons full load
Length: 166 m (544 ft 7 in)
Beam: 21.4 m (70 ft 3 in)
Draft: 6.25 m (20 ft 6 in)
Speed: exceeds 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph)
Range: 5,500 nautical miles (10,200 km; 6,300 mi)
Complement: 300-400 crew members
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • AN/SPY-1D(V) multi-function radar
  • AN/SPG-62 fire control radar
  • DSQS-21BZ hull mounted sonar
  • MTeQ towed array sonar system
  • Sagem Infrared Search & Track (IRST) system
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
LIG Nex1 SLQ-200K Sonata electronic warfare suite[2]
Aircraft carried: Hangar for two Super Lynx or SH-60 Seahawk, one more on landing pad



The ship features the Aegis Combat System (Baseline 7 Phase 1) combined with AN/SPY-1D multi-function radar antennae.

The Sejong the Great class is the third phase of the South Korean navy's Korean Destroyer eXperimental (KDX) program, a substantial shipbuilding program, which is geared toward enhancing ROKN's ability to successfully defend the maritime areas around South Korea from various modes of threats as well as becoming a blue-water navy.

At 8,500 tons standard displacement and 11,000 tons full load, the KDX-III Sejong the Great destroyers are by far the largest destroyers in the South Korean Navy,[4] and built slightly bulkier and heavier than Arleigh Burke-class destroyers or Atago-class destroyers to accommodate 32 more missiles. KD-III are currently the largest ships to carry the Aegis combat system.[5]


Sejong the Great-class destroyers' main gun is the 127 mm/L62 Mk. 45 Mod 4 naval gun, an improved version of the same gun used on other warships from several foreign nations. Point-defense armaments include one 30 mm Goalkeeper CIWS and a RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile Block 1 21-round launcher, the first Aegis platform to carry RAM.[6] Anti-aircraft armament consists of SM-2 Block IIIA and IIIB[7][8] in 80-cell VLS. Anti-submarine warfare armaments consists of both K-ASROC Hong Sahng-uh (Red Shark) anti-submarine rockets and 32 K745 LW Cheong Sahng-uh (Blue Shark) torpedoes. Anti-ship capability is provided by 16 SSM-700K Hae Sung (Sea Star) long-range anti-ship missile, each with performance similar to the U.S. Harpoon. Land-attack capability is provided by the recently developed Hyunmoo-3C (Guardian of the Northern Sky) cruise missile, which is similar to the U.S. Tomahawk.

Missile batteriesEdit

  • VLS: 128 cell
    • Mk 41 VLS 48 cell (Fwd)
    • Mk 41 VLS 32 cell (Aft)
    • K-VLS 48 cell (Aft)
  • Anti-ship missile launchers: 16


The Sejong the Great-class destroyers' are often compared to the Arleigh Burke and Atago classes because they utilize the AN/SPY-1 multi-function radar, have similar propulsion and capabilities. One notable difference between the Sejong the Great-class ships and Arleigh Burkes is the number of VLS cells. Destroyers of the Sejong the Great-class have a capacity of 128 missiles, as opposed to 96 on the Arleigh Burke class and the Japanese Atago-class destroyers. The Sejong the Great class is thus one of the most heavily armed ships in the world,[9] with even greater missile capacity than the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy Type 055 destroyer[10] (112 VLS cells), or the U.S. Navy Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser (122 VLS cells), and considering only surface ships is surpassed only by the Kirov-class battlecruiser with 352 missiles (entire missile load).[11] The four American Ohio-class submarines converted to guided-missile configuration carry 154 cruise missiles each. Another similarity to Arleigh Burke Flight IIA and Atago-class destroyers is the presence of full facilities for two helicopters, a feature missing from earlier Arleigh Burke and Kongō-class destroyers.

These destroyers have the capability to track and monitor any missile launched from anywhere from North Korea. This capability was demonstrated by the tracking of a North Korean missile in April 2009.[12]


In August 2016, press reports revealed that South Korea was considering adding the SM-3 interceptor to its Sejong the Great-class ships to enable them to perform ballistic missile defense in response to North Korean efforts to bolster offensive missile capabilities. This comes just months after the U.S. decision to deploy the THAAD missile interceptor system on mainland South Korea. The addition of SM-3s to the ships may require software and computer hardware upgrades.[13] The following month, Aegis manufacturer Lockheed Martin confirmed the next three Sejong the Great vessels will be capable of performing "integrated air and missile defense" (IAMD) to supplement U.S. Army ground-based missile interceptors on the peninsula, likely being outfitted with the SM-3. While the first three destroyers are fitted with Aegis Baseline 7 based on older proprietary computers that can't carry out IAMD operations, the following three will be fitted with the Baseline 9 version of the Aegis Combat System that combines modern computing architecture to allow the AN/SPY-1D(v) radar to perform air warfare and BMD missions at the same time.[14]

Hull namesEdit

On April 20, 2007, South Korean Chief of Naval Operations announced that the lead ship of KDX-III class destroyers will be referred as Sejong the Great. Sejong the Great (Hangul: 세종대왕) is the fourth king of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea. He is credited with the creation of the Korean alphabet.

Ships in the classEdit

Name Pennant number Builder Launched Commissioned Decommissioned Status
ROKS Sejong the Great (Korean: 세종대왕함) DDG-991 Hyundai Heavy Industries 25 May 2007 22 December 2008 Active
ROKS Yulgok Yi I (Korean: 율곡 이이함) DDG-992 Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering 14 November 2008 31 August 2010 Active
ROKS Seoae Yu Seong-ryong[15](Korean: 서애 유성룡함) DDG-993 Hyundai Heavy Industries 24 March 2011 30 August 2012 Active

On 10 December 2013 the ROKN confirmed ordering three more vessels on the same class.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Pike, John. "KDX-III Destroyer".
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b "ROK (Republic of Korea) Navy to increase KDX-III Aegis destroyers to six by 2027". December 11, 2013.
  4. ^ "Koreas KDX-III AEGIS Destroyers".
  5. ^ "Aegis Weapon System Verified During Korean Navy Ship - at DefenceTalk".
  6. ^ "KDX-III / DDH-III Sejongdaewang". Guide to Military Equipment and Civil Aviation. Retrieved 2009-04-07. These ships will be the world's first combining proven AEGIS and RAM.
  7. ^ "Korea to acquire new missiles for Aegis destroyer". The Korea Herald. 2009-06-28. Retrieved 2009-06-27.
  8. ^ "Republic of Korea - SM-2 Standard Missiles" (PDF). Defense Security Cooperation Agency. 2009-05-26. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-05-27. Retrieved 2009-06-27.
  9. ^ Burleson, Mike (2010-05-25). "South Korean Naval Plight Our Own". New Wars. Retrieved 2011-11-10.
  10. ^ China's New Guided Missile Destroyer To Be Its Biggest Yet -, 24 October 2016
  11. ^ Kirov class -
  12. ^ "Korea Launches 3rd Aegis Destroyer".
  13. ^ Report: South Korea Wants BMD Capability for Guided Missile Destroyers -, 15 August 2016
  14. ^ New South Korean Destroyers to Have Ballistic Missile Defense Capability -, 6 September 2016
  15. ^ "NAVSEA on Flight III Arleigh Burkes - USNI News". 7 June 2013.

External linksEdit