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Vietnam Eyes Another Pohang-class Corvette from SK

Yulian Ardiansyah - : Sep 10, 2022 - : 5:34 pm

The Vietnamese People’s Navy (VPN) is reported eyeing the transfer of another refurbished Pohang-class corvette from South Korea.

This was expressed in a meeting between the Vietnamese Deputy Minister of National Defence, Lt. Gen. Hoang Xuan Chien, and the Vice Minister of the South Korean Ministry of National Defense, Shin Beom-chul earlier this week. The meeting was held as the 10th annual strategic defense dialogue between the two countries.

South Korea previously transferred two refurbished Pohang-class corvettes to Vietnam after being retired from the Republic of Korea Navy’s (ROKN) service. The ROKS Gimcheon (PCC-761) was transferred in May 2017, followed by the ROKS Yeosu (PCC-765) in October 2018.

Both Pohang-class corvettes are now serving in the VPN with HQ-18 and HQ-20 hull numbers.

Under the VPN service, the ships were once modified as launch platforms for the Russian-made Kh-35 Uran (NATO: SS-N-25 Switchblade) anti-ship missile, giving them the capability to attack and destroy vessels with a displacement of up to 5,000 tonnes. Reports indicated that the missiles have been removed sometime later and the ships returned to duty as patrol vessels.

The Pohang-class corvettes are a class of Patrol Combat Corvette (PCC) of the South Korean Navy, built between 1984 and 1992. As many as 24 of the ships in this class were once operated by the ROKN until their decommissioning which began in 2009. As of 2022, seven of them are still active in the ROKN while seven others have been transferred to other navies.

With a displacement of around 1,000 tonnes, each of these ships has a length of about 88.3 meters, 10 meters beam, and 2.9 meters draft. Powered with a combination of one gas turbine and two diesel engines, these ships have a maximum speed of about 32 knots and a maximum range of about 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 km) under 15 knots cruising speed.

The Pohang-class corvettes are armed with either one or two OTO Melara 76 mm/62 naval cannons, two Oerlikon 30 mm or Bofors 40 mm cannons, with either Exocet, Harpoon, or South Korean-made SSM-700K C-Star anti-ship missiles – depending on their production batches. The ships are also equipped with anti-submarine torpedoes and/or depth charges, as well as Mistral Man-Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS) for self-defense against aircraft.

In the South East Asia region, both VPN and the Philippine Navy are listed as transfer recipients of Pohang-class corvettes with two vessels each. Both navies have also expressed their interest to acquire a third ship of the same class from South Korea.


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