Tuesday 19 Oct 2021 | 10:34 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 19 Oct 2021 | 10:34 | SYDNEY

New destroyers: Paying too much?


Sam Roggeveen


20 October 2009 09:57

Last Thursday I linked to a Korea Times news story announcing that the South Korean Navy plans to build a new class of frigates, reasonably large ships (5,600 tons) that will be equipped with the AEGIS combat system. The maritime strategy blog Information Dissemination subjected that story to some closer scrutiny and concluded from a quote by a Government spokesman that South Korea is getting some remarkably cheap ships — around US$286 million each. 

That seems too good to be true (read the comment thread on the blog post for more), but even if you quadruple that figure, you still come out way ahead of what Australia plans to pay for what seem like reasonably similar Air Warfare Destroyers (AWDs):

At a cost of nearly $8 billion, and subject to successful contract negotiations, Navantia will work with the AWD Alliance (Defence Materiel Organisation, ASC and Raytheon Australia) to deliver three AWDs to the Royal Australian Navy.

Perhaps the comparative performance and capability of these ships will partly explain this huge discrepancy; we won't know until we see exactly what South Korea is planning to build. But can that really be the whole story, or is the difference down to the Government's insistence that the ships be built here? Perhaps my friends at ASPI can enlighten me?