On December 10, the Joint Chiefs of Staff held a council, conducted by chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Choi Yun-hee, and decided to secure three additional new Aegis destroyers by the mid-2020s.

Our Navy has strengthened its military strength with three Aegis ships – Sejongdaewang Ham in 2008, Yulgok Yi Yi Ham in 2010 and Seoae Ryu Seong Ryong Ham in 2012. If the Joint Chiefs of Staff secures the budget and uses it to strengthen military strength according to deliberation and decision on the Aegis, our navy will possess six Aegis ships in total.

“We’ll expand our ballistic missile detection and tracking, and anti-submarine capability to prepare for asymmetric threats from North Korea, such as nuclear weapons, missiles and submarines, and their local provocation. In real wartime, we will significantly improve our area anti-aircraft defense and striking power against surface ships and ground high-payoff targets. Moreover, for the potential threat around the Korean Peninsula, we will improve our reaction capability on the ocean sovereignty defense,” it was stated in a briefing on the results of the joint chiefs of staff’s council on the same day.

Compared to the existing Aegis destroyer (KDX-III), the new ones that will be additionally secured are loaded combat systems used for ballistic missile detection and tracking, and configured with the required operational capability to offer improved detection capability of submarines and submergence vehicles with the integrated sonar system.

“Our Navy has three Aegis ships in total, and we’re on a very tight schedule to operate them as one for operating, another for standby and the other for maintenance. As we’re seeking for further military strength such as a task fleet, additional Aegis ships are essential for more effective operation,” an MND official explained regarding the background of the additional securement of Aegis.

A military official also explained the meaning of the additional securement, saying we could perform our mission more smoothly against asymmetric threats from North Korea’s missiles and enable the Navy to gather speed to secure the task fleet.

Another military official said that it was early to tell the specific building costs, but he added it would cost around 4 trillion won more than the costs for securement of the existing Aegis (about 3 trillion won).

Prior to this, the National Assembly Defense Committee had already reflected the required budget for Aegis’ detailed design research on the 2013 national defense budget last December, emphasizing the necessity of the additional securement of Aegis ships; moreover, they brought up the issue at the regular session of the National Assembly last October.