DSME awarded contract to design, build upgraded KSS-III-class submarine

11 October 2019

South Korean shipbuilder DSME launched the first KSS-III submarine on order for the RoKN on 14 September 2018. Source: DSME

South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) announced on 11 October that it has been awarded KRW1.13 trillion (USD958 million) to design and build an upgraded KSS-III (also known as Dosan Ahn Chang-ho)-class diesel-electric submarine.

The company said that the new 3,000 tonne boat will not only be capable of conducting longer underwater operations, but also be better armed and faster than previous variants, adding that it plans to use locally developed submarine parts to boost localisation.

Although the company did not specify in the announcement, the recently awarded contract is likely to have been for the design and construction of the first boat of the third batch of KSS-III-class submarines for the Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN).

In 2016, DSME had been awarded a contract for the design and construction of the first boat of the second batch of KSS-III submarines, with the company completing the design phase in 2018. DSME is currently building the first and second submarines of the first batch of KSS-IIIs following an order it secured in 2012. The third boat of the first batch is being built by Hyundai Heavy Industries.

The latest announcement comes after first-of-class Dosan Ahn Chang-ho was launched in September 2018 in a ceremony held at the shipbuilder's Okpo shipyard on Geoje Island. The indigenously developed 3,000-tonne platform, which is 83.3 m-long, 9.6 m-wide and 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 .

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

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