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South Korea to purchase US Mk 15 Phalanx Close-In Weapons System for KDX III Batch II Class destroyer


According to information published by the United States Department of Defense (DoD) on December 1, 2020, the U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Republic of Korea of two (2) MK 15 MOD 25 Phalanx Close-In Weapons System (CIWS) Block 1B Baseline 2 (IB2) systems and related equipment for an estimated cost of $39 million.
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South Korea to purchase US Mk 15 Phalanx Close In Weapons System for KDX III Batch II Class destroyer 925 001U.S. Fire Controlman 3rd Class Paul Chapman removes a danger tag from a MK 15 Phalanx close-in weapons system (CIWS) before firing on the flight deck aboard aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson CVN 70. (Picture source U.S. Navy)


The Republic of Korea has requested to buy two (2) MK 15 MOD 25 Phalanx Close-In Weapons System (CIWS) Block 1B Baseline 2 (IB2) systems; and four thousand (4,000) rounds, 20MM cartridge API linked. Also included are spare parts; other support equipment; ammunition; books and other publications; software; training; engineering technical assistance and other technical assistance; and other related elements of the program and logistical support. The estimated total cost is $39 million.

The proposed sale will improve the Republic of Korea’s capability to meet current and future threats. Korea will use the systems aboard its first KDX III Batch II Class destroyer to provide it with effective means of detecting and defending itself against incoming airborne threats. The Republic of Korea will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.

The principal contractor will be Raytheon Missile and Defense, Louisville, KY. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

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.

According to early information and rumors, KDX-III Batch-II will feature Hybrid-Electric Drive (HED) and BMD 5.1 system. Depending on export agreements, the vessels may receive gallium nitride technology radar components from Japan. The new class will also benefit from an improved electronic warfare suite (Sonata Next Generation), enhanced stealth features and indigenous hull-mounted sonar and active towed aray. Finally, KDX-III Batch-II may be the first South Korean vessel class to be fitted with directed energy weapons (not initially but as part of an upgrade).

The Mk-15 Phalanx is CIWS (Close-In Weapon System) that provides ships with an inner layer point defense capability against Anti Ship Missiles (ASM), aircraft, and littoral warfare threats that have penetrated other fleet defenses. Phalanx automatically detects, evaluates, tracks engages, and performs kill assessment against ASM and high-speed aircraft threats.