Hanwha Ocean Secures First Defense Contract Since Buying DSME

Courtesy DSME

Published Jul 16, 2023 8:21 PM by The Maritime Executive

The South Korean shipbuilder Hanwha Ocean has reportedly been chosen as the preferred bidder for the construction of new-generation frigates for the country’s navy. Hanwha Ocean outperformed its closest competitor HD Hyundai Industries to win the defense contract. This is the first time the shipbuilder won a government tender since its absorption of Daewoo Shipbuilding, a deal which was overseen by the state-controlled Korea Development Bank.

According to Business Korea, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) selected Hanwha Ocean as the priority partner for the construction of the Ulsan-class Batch-III 5th and 6th vessels. Hanwha Ocean outperformed HD Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) by a thin margin, and Hyundai allegedly received some deductions due to its record of unfair practices.

The construction of the 3,500-ton Ulsan-class Batch III frigates is part of the Korea’s Navy (ROK Navy) modernization program, which will see replacement of the old frigates (FF) and patrol combat corvettes (PCC). The navy plans to introduce six Ulsan-class Batch-III ships, with the 5th and 6th vessels being the final batch. This contract is budgeted to cost $655 million. 

The first ship is already built and was launched by HHI in April. SK Oceanplant is currently building the second, third and fourth ships. The frigates will be 129 meters long, 15 meters in width, and will have a maximum speed of 30 knots.

Rolls-Royce will deliver the frigates’ gas turbines, which will be the primary propulsion system for the ships.

Hanwha Ocean was designated as a defense industry in 1981, and has since participated in major military shipbuilding projects ever since, particularly for submarine construction. Hanwha Ocean has also recently improved its technological capabilities in building surface ships through its link-up with Hanwha Group’s weapon systems.