First South Korea Designed Submarine Starts Sea Trials

The shipbuilding trials of the submarine “Dosan Ahn Chang-Ho” of the prototype KSS-III (Jangbogo III) submarine has began. They are the first ships of this class designed by Koreans and – what is worth emphasizing – they are large ocean-going vessels equipped with air-independent propulsion (AIP) and cruise missiles of native construction.

The construction of the prototype began on November 27, 2014 at the Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) shipyard in Okpo near Busan, the keel was laid on May 27, 2016, the launching ceremony took place on September 14, 2018. It is planned that the ship will start service in January 2022 Under the contract of December 26, 2012, DSME is also building a second unit in the “Son Byong-hi” series, the keel of which was laid on July 1, 2016.

The construction of the third ship “Yi Dongnyeong” began on June 30, 2017 at the Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard, under a contract signed on November 30, 2016. All three ships of the first series are to be delivered by the end of 2023.

The Korean ships have a surface displacement of 3,358 tons and a submarine of 3,705 tons. They are armed with six 533.4 mm torpedo tubes and six K-VLS Mk 1 vertical launchers for Hyunmoo-3C cruise missiles with a range of 1,500 km. Conventional (diesel-electric) drive is supported by the AIP system, which uses electrochemical fuel cells. The underwater speed is to be 20 knots.

The crew will be 50 people. From the fourth unit on, lead-acid batteries will be replaced with lithium-ion batteries, which, in combination with AIP, will enable a 50-day submerged cruise at a speed of 5 knots. The current plans provide for the construction of two series of ships of this type (which will give a total of nine units), the last of which is to be in the line in 2029. The cost of building each of these ships is estimated at USD 900 million. According to the DSME concern, 76% of the components of these units are produced in the Republic of South Korea.

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