South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) is on track to deliver a 122 metre multipurpose frigate on order for the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) with an expected delivery date of August 2018.
The frigate has been given the pennant number 471, and is currently undergoing a series of sea trials. It was ordered under a $440 million (14.6 billion THB) contract inked between the Thai government and DSME in August 2013 with work beginning at the company’s shipbuilding facilities in Okpo, South Korea, on 21 January 2017.
The vessel is based on the Kwanggaeto Daewang (KDX-1) destroyer which is in service with the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN).
The ship’s principal armaments include a 76mm main gun, eight surface-to-surface missiles, eight vertical launch systems, and six torpedoes. It is also equipped with a close-in weapon system, two 30mm guns, and chaff launchers for self-defence.
It was originally planned that the Thai government would acquire two new-build frigates as replacements for the navy’s Knox-class frigates that were constructed in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and transferred to Thailand in the mid-1990s. One of these ships has already been decommissioned in 2015.
DSME is currently in negotiation to build the second frigate and believes that an order will materialise by the next year.