According to the local sources, South Korea is planning to donate a Pohang-class corvette to Colombia in order to strengthen naval relations between the navies of the two nations and as a sign of the growing defense cooperation of the two countries. The deal was arranged last year during a bilateral meeting in Bogotá between Colombian President and South Korean Prime Minister.
The ship to be donated is a second-hand corvette belonging to the Pohang Class named ROKS Iksan (PCC-768), which was withdrawn from active duty with the South Korean Navy on December 31, 2018 and is being reconditioned in these moments to meet the needs of the Colombian Navy.
So far it is unclear whether the donation would include the ship’s weapons systems and the four 76mm and 40mm naval guns that are installed on the combat ship.
The Navy of the Republic of Korea (RoKN) began the transfer process of the corvette a few months ago, which can be delivered to the Colombian Navy in the second half of 2020. Currently a delegation of Colombian officers is already at the Base Jinhae Naval (South Gyeongsang Province) inspecting all the work carried out on the boat.
Launched into the water on March 24, 1987, the new corvette will boost Colombia’s front-line defense to safeguard territorial boundaries, and will greatly enhance the anti-aircraft warfare (AAW), anti-submarine warfare (ASUW) capabilities of the Peaceful.
The Pohang class is a corvette built by Hyundai Heavy Industries. The ship has a length of 88.3 meters with a beam of 10 meters and a draft of 2.9 meters. It has a displacement of 1,216 tons at full load, a maximum speed of 32 knots and a range of 4,000 nautical miles at 15 knots. It is attended by a team of 118 people and can maintain its operational presence for 20 days.
Typical armament when the ship was in service with the RoKN included four Harpoon missiles on two quadruple launchers, two triple-tube 324mm torpedo launchers, as well as two compact OTO Melara 76mm / 62 guns and two closing weapon systems 40 mm Otobreda.
This ship will be the second corvette donated by South Korea to Colombia. In 2014, the Republic of Korea Navy transferred ROKS Anyang (PCC-755), a retired corvette from the Donghae class, to the Colombian Navy. The ship was renamed CM-55 ARC Nariño, the surname of the Colombian independence hero Antonio Narino.
South Korea has also donated Pohang-class corvettes to Egypt, Vietnam, Peru, and the Philippines, as it replaces this veteran class of ships with the newer and more capable FFX frigates.