Poland to purchase South Korean KSS-III submarine under the Orka program

During 2022-2023. Poland has ordered a number of South Korean weapons systems worth billions of dollars. Perhaps tanks, aircraft and howitzers will be joined by a submarine.

Poland has already ordered K2 Black Panther tanks, K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzers, FA-50 aircraft and K239 Chunmoo multiple rocket launchers. Now Hanwha Ocean wants to sell the European country a KSS-III submarine in its latest version, the Batch II.

Last week, Poland revealed part of the requirements for the submarines to be procured under the Orka programme. In particular, the ship must:

  • perform missions of at least 30 days’ duration;
  • dive to a depth of more than 200 metres;
  • be able to strike with torpedoes, anti-ship and cruise missiles;
  • be protected from airborne threats;
  • be compatible with rescue vehicles;
  • capable of laying sea mines;
  • use underwater drones.

Poland also wanted submarines with air-independent propulsion, which would allow them to sail without having to surface. Delivery schedules, logistics packages, personnel and crew training were also considered.

Eleven companies from around the world are interested in the Polish programme. They are Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd, Saab Technologies Pols Sp. z o.o., Navantia, Naval Group, ThyssenKrupp AG, Hanwha Ocean Co. Ltd., Fincantieri S.p.A., Aycomm Sp. z o.o., Volue Industrial IoT, Babcock International Group plc., JFD.

KSS-III meets most of the criteria of the Orka programme. It is also the only submarine on the list that has vertical launch systems. The problem may be that some of the systems are supplied by European companies, so Hanwha Ocean must obtain authorisation from them to export. In addition, Polish submariners considered the KSS-III too big for the Baltic Sea.

German ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems is on the list of 11 companies. We recently wrote that it offered Poland its Type 212 Common Design diesel-electric submarine.

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