South Korea Launches Four PKMR Patrol Boats

The Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) and Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced that four 230-ton Patrol Killer Medium Rocket (PKMR) patrol ships produced by HJ shipbuilding & Construction (HJSC) were launched on May 12th. The ships are expected to greatly improve the ROKN’s ability to deal with asymmetric naval threats from North Korea.

The launch ceremony of the PKMR boats was presided over by Vice-admiral Kang Donghoon, The Commander of the ROK Fleet, as well as officials from DAPA and HJ Shipbuilding & Construction.

“The new patrol ships will carry on the legacy of previous patrol ships that have successfully conducted operations around the Korean peninsula since the 1970s. The ROKN will continue defending our nation’s seas with these new ships.”

Vice-admiral Kang Donghoon, Commander of ROK Fleet

The ships – named PKMR-226,227, 228, and 229 – mark the end of the PKX-B Batch-I program which aimed to replace the aging PKM patrol boats. The vessels will undergo sea trials and then be delivered to the navy near the end of the year. The ROKN plans to begin operational deployment of the ships within two months of delivery after which it will proceed with the development of the PKX-B Batch-II.

The PKMRs are more survivable and heavily armed than previous patrol boats. Equipment on board include the 130 mm guided anti-ship missile from LIG Nex1, a 76 mm main gun, an electronic warfare system, and advanced anti-ship missile countermeasures. The ships also have two remotely controlled 12.7 mm machine guns which will increase its effectiveness against North Korean missile ships at close range.

The PKMR is 44.7 m in length, 7.1 m in width, and 13 m in height. The ships are some of the fastest vessels in the ROKN with a top speed of 40 knots generated by three CODAG waterjet engines, two GE LM500 gas turbines, and two CAT C32 Acert diesel engines. The vessels also use the STX Engine SPS-300K radar to track surface targets, LIG Nex1’s SPS-560K 3D radar for airborne threats, and the SAW-560K electro-optical targeting system for fire control. The PKMR has a crew of 23.

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