Monday, November 21, 2016

Royal New Zealand Navy’s 75th Birthday celebrations and the ROKS Chungbuk

On 1 October 1941, His Majesty King George VI approved the designation “Royal New Zealand Navy” for the regular element of the New Zealand Naval Forces (with Reserve and Volunteer Reserve elements appropriately titled.)

2016 marks the 75th Anniversary of the foundation of the New Zealand Navy and the occasion is being celebrated with a programme of commemorative events and activities – collectively named Operation NEPTUNE.

One of these events is an Open Day where ships from friends and allies were open to the public to have a walk around certain parts of the vessel. Unfortunately the tragic events of Kaikoura earthquake meant that a number of vessels scheduled to visit were providing support humanitarian support to survivors including a large number of residents and tourists stuck in the area and unable to leave. Two of the vessels that I was most looking forward too, the USS Sampson (an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer) and HMAS Darwin (an Adelaide-class guided-missile frigate that is based on the US Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates) were amongst those that were diverted.

The day itself proved to be a lot of fun with Auckland weather turning up and providing a beautiful sunny day for us to enjoy and I managed to get aboard 5 vessels. First up was the ROKS Chungbuk, Incheon-class frigate.

ROKS Chungbuk, Incheon-class frigate
The Incheon-class frigates are coastal defense frigates of the Republic of Korea Navy. The lead ship was launched on 29 April 2011. They will replace the aging fleet of Pohang-class corvettes and Ulsan-class frigates, and take over multi-role operations such as coast patrol, anti-submarine warfare and transport support.

The Incheon-class frigates main gun is the 127mm/L62 Mk. 45 Mod 4 naval gun. This was chosen over a smaller 76mm for naval barrage support in amphibious landings and superiority in ship to ship firing. Point-defense armaments include a single 20 mm Phalanx CIWS and a RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile Block 1 21-round launcher. The anti-submarine warfare armaments consists of K745 LW Cheong Sahng-uh (Blue Shark) torpedoes. Anti-ship capability is provided by SSM-700K Hae Sung (Sea Star) long-range anti-ship missile, each with performance similar to the U.S. Harpoon.

The ROKS Chungbuk is the fifth ship in the class and was launched in October 2014 and commissioned earlier this year in January.
Another front on view of the ROKS Chungbuk
A view from the rear of the ROKS Chungbuk showing the hanger door open on the left
The 127mm gun mount
Another view of the gun with the masts of the Bark Esmeralda (from Chile) in the background
The business end of the ROKS Chungbuk
The bridge of the ROKS Chungbuk
A view from the wings of the bridge looking back down at the bow. Unfortunately we were firmly (be very politely) asked to not take any photos inside the vessel. The ROKS Chungbuk was the only ship where we made it to the bridge. It was smaller than I expected with no room for any unnecessary people or equipment
The RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Block 1 21-round launcher. This is a point defence missile system designed to target incoming cruise missiles.
An action photo on display on the ship.
SSM-700K Hae Sung (Sea Star) long-range anti-ship missile launchers. Two sets of four launchers mounted amidships. We were able to walk around these and have a close look at the launchers themselves. Below are the K745 LW Cheong Sahng-uh (Blue Shark) torpedo launchers.
At the rear of the ship above the hanger a single 20 mm Phalanx CIWS. Ever since my Harpoon gaming days this has been a favourite piece of technology of mine.
On the landing pad, the CIWS at the top of the shot, the hanger door open on the right.
Another shot of the rear ROKS Chungbuk, taken from the HMNZS Otago
One of the ROKS Chungbuk crew patrolling the vessel. Unlike the rest of the vessels these guys looked pretty serious about their patrol duties.

Next stop was the HMNZS Otago, a Protector class off-shore patrol vessel.

No comments: