Ridzwan Rahmat, Singapore - Jane's Navy International
30 May 2018
- South Korea will deploy the K-SAAM on its second Dokdo-class helicopter carrier
- Deployment heralds wider adoption of the locally developed close-in defence system across South Korea’s naval vessels
The Republic of Korea Navy’s (RoKN’s) second Dokdo-class helicopter carrier will deploy an indigenously developed weapon referred to in the country as Korean Surface-to-Air Anti-Missile (SAAM, or K-SAAM) an industry representative close to the matter has confirmed with Jane’s .
The vessel, which will be known in service as ROKS Marado with pennant number 6112 once commissioned, has also been equipped with a locally developed vertical launching system (K-VLS) at the extreme rear of its superstructure to deploy these weapons.
The K-SAAM is a 3.07 m long ship-based anti-air projectile that employs inertial mid-course guidance and a dual microwave and imaging infrared seeker for terminal guidance. A programme to develop the weapon, which has also been referred to as ‘Haegung’ or ‘Sea Bow’ in South Korea, began in 2011, and first test firings of the system started in 2013. Besides being meant for deployment against aerial targets, the K-SAAM also has limited anti-ship and anti-surface capabilities.
Officials from the weapon’s manufacturer, LIG Nex1, who spoke to Jane’s at the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition (ADEX) in 2015, said the weapon will enter service with the RoKN in 2018 and that it will eventually replace the Raytheon RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) on South Korean warships.
The inclusion of this weapon system is one of several differences between Marado and its first-of-class sister ship, RoKS Dokdo (6111), which was commissioned in 2007. Images from Marado ’s launch ceremony on 14 May reveal that South Korea has also selected a mix of local and Israeli sensors for the follow-on ship.
These include the ELM-2248 (MF-STAR) multifunction surveillance radar from Israeli defence company ELTA Systems in place of the SMART-L multibeam radar from Thales found on Dokdo , and the SPS-550K three-dimensional air and surface surveillance radar from local company LIG Nex1, in place of the Thales MW08 surveillance radar found on the earlier ship.