Sea Platforms

South Korea’s first KSS-3 submarine begins sea trials

17 June 2019

South Korea’s first KSS-3 submarine, seen here at its ceremonial launch in September 2018. Source: Republic of Korea Navy

Key Points

  • South Korea has begun sea trials for its first KSS-3 diesel-electric submarine
  • The Republic of Korea Navy is on track to receive the land-attack cruise missile-capable vessel by 2020

South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) has begun initial sea trials for the country's first KSS-3 diesel-electric submarine (SSK), an industry source close to the matter has confirmed with Jane's.

The vessel, Dosan Ahn Chang-ho, began the trials during the week of 10 June, and these involved mainly tests of the vessel's propulsion systems and steering equipment. The latter included validations carried out remotely from the bridge and manually from the submarine's aft section, the source added.

Dosan Ahn Chang-ho is the first of three KSS-3 submarines ordered for the Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN). The keel for the vessel was laid down in May 2016 and the SSK was ceremoniously launched by DSME in September 2018.

The submarine has an overall length of 83.5 m, an overall beam of 7.7 m, and a hull draught of 7.62 m. It displaces approximately 3,400 tonnes when surfaced, 3,800 tonnes when dived, and can accommodate a crew of 50. The SSK is air-independent propulsion-capable, and has a top speed of 20 kt when dived, 11 kt when surfaced, and a standard surfaced range of 10,000 n miles (18,520 km) at 8 kt.

The boat is equipped with eight 533 mm tubes that are capable of deploying an improved version of the Baek Sang Eo (White Shark) heavyweight torpedo from local company LIG NEX, and six vertical launching system tubes that can launch land-attack cruise missiles such as the Cheong Ryong.

The submarine will be equipped with the Weapon Handling Launch System from Babcock, and a locally developed submarine combat system from Hanwha Systems.

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