The South Korean Navy has made a request to build three more Aegis destroyers to bolster defense against its Asian neighbors and North Korea amid increasing military tension due to territorial disputes, a military source said Wednesday.
South Korea currently operates three 7,600-ton Aegis warships, but the Navy has sought to increase its fleet to cope with rising regional tension in light of Pyongyang's third nuclear test conducted earlier this year and ongoing territorial disputes between China and Japan.
"The Navy made a request for three additional Aegis ships to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) a year ago," the source said, asking for anonymity. "The JCS will discuss the plan in a meeting slated for next month."
If the plan is approved, the Navy will begin to build the ships between 2020 and 2025, he noted.
It is estimated to cost about 3 trillion won ($2.8 billion) to build the three ships, according to military officials.
South Korea has built three Aegis destroyers since 2004 under a Navy buildup project to bolster defense against North Korea.
The 166-meter-long destroyer is equipped with the latest radar system as well as missiles and torpedoes in their vertical launch system. With 300 crew members, it can also carry two mid-sized helicopters and sail at a top speed of 30 knots within a range of 1,000 kilometers. (Yonhap News)