The Mas­ter Mariners in Ship­build­ing

With a strong tech­nol­ogy base, South Korea has al­ways strived to de­velop and build its own mil­i­tary ships, sub­marines and fast boats. The de­vel­op­ment and mod­erni­sa­tion of South Korean de­fence ca­pa­bil­ity got a kick-start dur­ing the 1970s with the for­mu­lati

SP's NavalForces - - ASIA- PACIFIC - LT GEN­ERAL (RETD) NARESH CHAND

OVer THe PaST FOUr decades, South Korea has demon­strated in­cred­i­ble growth and global in­te­gra­tion to be­come a hightech in­dus­tri­alised econ­omy. In the 1960s, GDP per capita was com­pa­ra­ble with lev­els in the poorer coun­tries of africa and asia. In 2004, South Korea joined the tril­lion-dol­lar club of world economies and is cur­rently the worldÕs 12th largest econ­omy. Kore­aÕs ex­port fo­cused econ­omy was hit hard by the 2008 global eco­nomic down­turn, but quickly re­bounded in sub­se­quent years, reach­ing 6.3 per cent growth in 2010. The US-South Korea Free Trade agree­ment was rat­i­fied by both gov­ern­ments in 2011 and went into ef­fect in March 2012. On the longterm ba­sis, South Korea has been able to trans­form it­self from one of the worldÕs poor­est na­tions into one of the worldÕs rich­est na­tions. Its GDP (pur­chas­ing power par­ity) is $1.64 tril­lion (2012 est.) and is 13th in the world. Its amaz­ing eco­nomic growth in a short pe­riod has been dubbed Òthe Mir­a­cle on the Han riverÓ. Its main in­dus­tries are elec­tron­ics, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, au­to­mo­bile pro­duc­tion, chem­i­cals, steel and ship­build­ing.

Ship­build­ing In­dus­try

In 2003, South Korea be­came the worldÕs lead­ing ship­builders by go­ing ahead of Ja­pan in ship­build­ing vol­ume, or­der back­logs and new or­ders, mainly for mer­chant ships in­clud­ing oil tankers. China has also de­vel­oped its ship­build­ing in­dus­try, out­pac­ing Ja­pan and giv­ing tough com­pe­ti­tion to South Korea. ac­cord­ing to one re­port, it be­came the lead­ing ship­builder in 2011 when it ac­counted for 48.2 per cent of a to­tal of 28.11 mil­lion com­pen­sated gross tonnes (CGTs) worth of deals glob­ally placed, com­pared with a 31.2 per cent in 2010. South Kore­aÕs ship­build­ing sec­tor con­tin­ues to be the in­dus­try leader.

Mil­i­tary Ship­build­ing Ca­pa­bil­ity

With a strong tech­nol­ogy base, South Korea has al­ways strived to de­velop and build its own mil­i­tary ships, sub­marines and fast boats. The de­vel­op­ment and mod­erni­sa­tion of South Korean de­fence ca­pa­bil­ity got a kick-start dur­ing the 1970s with the for­mu­la­tion of the eightyear Na­tional De­fense Plan, aimed at mak­ing the coun­try self-re­liant in de­fence ca­pa­bil­ity by us­ing its do­mes­tic tech­nol­ogy and in­dus­trial re­sources. The re­sult was the build­ing of Ul­san-class frigates and the Po­hang-class corvettes which are con­sid­ered as the main­stay of rOKNÕs fleet in coastal op­er­a­tions. Since then South Korea has not looked back and has in­dige­nously con­structed a ma­jor­ity of its naval ves­sels. There are many ship­build­ing com­pa­nies in­volved in the build­ing of naval ves­sels of var­i­ous types and sizes in­clud­ing aux­il­iaries, the salient de­tails of which are as fol­lows:

In­dian ship­build­ing has a lot to em­u­late from South Korea for de­vel­op­ing their in­dige­nous ship­build­ing in­dus­try and be­com­ing a world leader in a very short time

PHO­TO­GRAPH: HHIC

South Korean Navy's pa­trol ves­sel, PKX I, built by Han­jin Heavy In­dus­tries

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