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Seoul gets a new submarine with vertical launch of cruise and ballistic missiles

SEOUL, (BM) – At a special ceremony at the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering [DSME] shipyard in South Korea, the country’s navy acquired a new submarine, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.

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According to information spread in South Korean media, the submarine is class KSS III and has a system for vertical launch of cruise or ballistic missiles. The 3,000-ton submarine is the second of its kind to serve in the South Korean Navy, with a total of three planned. This one has already been named and will be named ROKS Ahn Moo. The third submarine is expected to be built and put into operation in the coming years. Sources say this should happen by the end of 2022.

BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that the South Korean Defense Minister announced on August 10 that it intends to introduce modernized Dosan Ahn Chang-ho submarines capable of carrying more ballistic missiles in the next five years. This is to be a response to the growing threat from North Korea.

The information from the South Korean defense minister means that the country intends to continue developing its deterrence system, mainly based on the navy. Thanks to properly implemented technologies obtained with previously purchased submarines, the Koreans already builded their first own submarine of the Dosan Ahn Chang-ho [KSS-III] type, armed with vertical launch launchers for maneuvering and ballistic missiles.

The first unit of this type has already been launched and is scheduled to enter service later this year. It is included in the first series [Batch 1], each of which has a submersible displacement of about 3,700 tons, 83.5 m long and 9.6 m wide. “Chonryong” maneuvering missiles and “Hyunmoo” ballistic missiles.

According to the promises of the Minister of Defense, within the next five years, a second series unit [Batch 2] is to be created, which will have greater displacement, will be longer and armed: not with six, but ten vertical launch launchers. An additional innovation will be the use of the latest Samsung SDI lithium-ion batteries, which will more than double the time of immersion.

It is an open matter to introduce nuclear propulsion. Unlike classic American, Russian and French boomers, South Korean ballistic missile carriers are classified as diesel-electric units. According to the official message, this issue will be discussed “in due course”. However, the introduction of nuclear submarines would be a huge prestigious success, because only six countries on Earth have such units.

This would be the second approach to this problem, as South Korea wanted to build its first nuclear submarine as early as 2003. The border situation and pressure from the protesting United States-backed International Atomic Energy Agency, forced the authorities to Seoul to stop the entire program in 2010. South Korea realizes that starting work on nuclear submarines would not appeal to Americans, who could block access to the necessary technology for such an endeavor.

Therefore, it is assumed that the reinforced South Korean boomerri will simply be a development of the Batch 1 version of the Dosan Ahn Chang-ho submarines. It is all the more likely that the production lines for the construction of these units have been implemented both at the Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) shipyard in Okpo near Busan [where the first two ships in the series are built] and at the Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard [where the construction of the third KSS-III ship “Yi Dongnyeong” began on June 30, 2017].

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All the submarines built there have, apart from the classic diesel and electric drive, also an air-independent drive based on fuel cells. If lithium-ion batteries are introduced, according to Koreans, these units will be able to remain submerged for up to 50 days – when moving underwater from a speed of 5 knots.

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