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S. Korea Launches Third Aegis Destroyer.

Seoul, March 24 (Saba) - South Korea's Navy launched on Thursday its third destroyer equipped with the high-tech Aegis radar and weapons control system, officials said, amid high tensions with North Korea following two military attacks last year. The 7,600-ton KDX-III destroyer will be put into service in March next year, after a year of test operations, Navy officials said, according to Kuwait News Agency (QNA).

The destroyer, the Seoae Ryu Seong-ryong, is named after a prominent scholar during the Joseon Dynasty of Korea, Ryu Seong-ryong (1542-1607). Seoae is Ryu's pen name, according to South Korea's (Yonhap) news agency.

The Seoae Ryu Seong-yong is also equipped with domestically developed ship-to-ship missiles and torpedoes as well as a vertical missile-launch system and ship-to-surface cruise missiles, the Navy said.

The vessel was handed over to the Navy by its builder at a shipyard of Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. in Ulsan, 415 kilometers southeast of Seoul, the Navy said

South Korea has built three Aegis destroyers since 2004 under a Navy buildup project, code-named "KDX-III," to bolster defense against North Korea. The first and second ships were commissioned in 2008 and 2010, respectively.

Made by U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin, the Aegis system allows a destroyer to collect three-dimensional information for anti-aircraft, anti-ship and anti-submarine operations.

The 166-meter-long KDX III destroyer can carry about 120 missiles and torpedoes in its 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 1,000km, Navy officials said.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula remain high after North Korea sank the South's Cheonan warship near the Yellow Sea border in March 2010, killing 46 sailors. Pyongyang denies it sank the ship.

Eight months after the sinking, the North bombarded the front-line South Korean island of Yeonpyeong, killing two marines and two civilians.( 1999 - 2011

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Publication:Yemen News Agency (SABA)
Geographic Code:9NORT
Date:Mar 24, 2011
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