The 7,600-ton ship, built locally by Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. and carrying 16 ship-to-ship missiles, 128 ship-to-air missiles, 32 ship-to-surface cruise missiles, torpedoes and close-in weapons systems, is one of the world's heaviest and best-armed in its class. It is equipped with the Aegis, the highly sophisticated weapons control system built by Lockheed Martin.
Before South Korea, only the United States, Japan, Spain and Norway operated warships similar to the new South Korean ship, christened the King Sejong. The Spanish and Norwegian Aegis destroyers are of much smaller displacement.
King Sejong's formidable combination of offensive and defensive weapons suggests that she will be the mainstay of future South Korean naval power, counterbalancing potential threats from North Korea and China.
Seoul expects to commission two other advanced destroyers in 2010 and 2012 as part of the planned transfer to a Strategic Mobile Fleet concept instead of the current system, under which the Navy remains operationally divided between three seas.