Thailand’s government is thought to be interested in equipping the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) with two to three new frigates. In response to this, South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) unveiled a new frigate concept, the stealthy DW 3000H, at the Defense & Security 2012 Trade Show in Bangkok, Thailand.
Principal dimensions of the DW 3000H are a length of 114 meters, a beam of 13.8 meters, a depth of 8.2 meters, a draft of 3.9 meters, and a displacement of 3,000 tons.
The frigate’s propulsion system is a combined diesel and diesel arrangement driving two controllable pitch propellers for a top speed of 28 knots. To improve seakeeping characteristics, the hull has a pair of adjustable fin stabilizers and two pairs of bilge keels (strakes running along the length of the hull).
In common with other contemporary warship designs, the DW 3000H features an integrated mast – Thales’ I-Mast 500 most likely fitted with ESSM (Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile) uplink/control capability. Fire-control equipment includes a forward-facing gunfire-control director – a Thales Sting – atop the bridgehouse and a rear-facing Thales MIRADOR electro-optical director atop the helicopter hangar.
The DW 3000H is to be multirole frigate with a focus on anti-submarine warfare (ASW). Primary weapon systems are a single Oto Melara 76 mm gun in a stealth turret, an eight-cell vertical launch system for surface-to-air missiles – very likely the ESSM, eight surface-to-surface missiles – most likely American-built Harpoons or the equivalent Korean-built SSM-700K in two quad launchers located amidships, two 30 mm MSI DS30 guns fitted atop the hangar deck and a Phalanx close-in weapon system that is mounted one deck higher. A pair of decoy launchers is also fitted.
The ASW suite comprises two triple-torpedo tubes in enclosed recesses on the main deck level as well as what appear to be two anti-torpedo decoy launchers mounted atop the hangar deck. A hull-mounted sonar is fitted in a retractable sonar dome, though it is not clear if a towed array system is fitted.
The frigate can accommodate one helicopter in the hangar. The display model shows a Lynx helicopter.
Stealthy features include an enclosed foredeck, enclosed boat decks on either side of the superstructure, and enclosed bridge wings that extend from the slab-sided superstructure, as well as funnels that are shielded by the superstructure in profile.
There are indications that if the Thai government decides to move ahead with the frigate acquisition, the Thai Navy’s long-standing and, oft delayed, submarine plans may not be adversely affected.