Sea Platforms

South Korea launches first KSS-III submarine

17 September 2018

South Korean shipbuilder DSME launched the first KSS-III submarine on order for the RoKA on 14 September. Source: RoKN

South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) launched the first KSS-III (also called KSS-3) diesel-electric submarine on order for the Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN) on 14 September, the country’s Defence Acquisition Programme Administration (DAPA) announced in a statement issued that same day.

Named Dosan Ahn Chang-ho , the 83.3 m-long and 9.6 m-wide boat entered the water in a ceremony held at the shipbuilder’s Okpo shipyard on Geoje Island that was attended by South Korean President Moon Jae-in, among others.

The indigenously developed 3,000-tonne platform, which is equipped with an air-independent propulsion (AIP) system, can attain a maximum speed of about 20 kt, a cruising range of 10,000 n miles, and accommodate a crew of 50, according to Jane’s Fighting Ships . A keel-laying ceremony for the vessel was held in May 2016.

The KSS-III boats, nine of which are expected to be built, will be the largest submarines in the RoKN inventory once first-of-class Dosan Ahn Chang-ho is handed over to the RoKN in late 2020 following trials.

As Jane’s previously reported, the suite of sensors equipping at least the first three platforms is expected to include the Series 30 non-hull-penetrating optronic mast from Sagem that can accommodate up to four electro-optical (EO) payloads as well as electronic warfare (EW) and GPS antennas. It is also expected to be equipped with Hanwha Systems’ Naval Shield Integrated Combat Management System (ICMS).

The KSS-III class, which is considerably larger (18 m longer and 3.3 m wider) than the 1,800 tonne KSS-2 class, will feature a six-cell vertical launch system (VLS) aft of the fin that can deploy the Cheon Ryong land-attack cruise missile, which has a range of up to 1,500 km, as Jane’s reported.

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