South Korea conducts first SLBM test launch from in-service submarine

by Gabriel Dominguez & Matteo Scarano

South Korea test-launched a locally developed SLBM from an in-service submarine for the first time on 15 September. (Agency for Defense Development)

South Korea has test-launched a locally developed submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) from an in-service submarine for the first time, according to a 15 September statement by the Ministry of National Defense (MND) in Seoul.

The MND said that the weapon, which was launched from the recently commissioned KSS-III (also spelled KSS-3)-class submarine Dosan An Chang-ho while submerged, “accurately hit” its intended simulated target, addiing that this makes South Korea one of the few countries in the world to have SLBMs.

The launch, which follows underwater ejection tests from the same boat, as well as trials using an underwater barrage, was conducted by the country's Agency for Defence Development (ADD) at its Anheung test site in South Chungcheong Province and overseen by South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Defence Minister Suh Wook.

In a separate statement Moon said that South Korea's continuous improvement of its locally developed missiles will serve as a deterrent against future provocations from North Korea and help overcome asymmetric threats.

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USN shipbuilding plan could cut total number of missile VLS cells, CBO says

by Michael Fabey

The 30-year US Navy (USN) shipbuilding plan released in June could reduce the number of missile vertical launch system (VLS) cells, according to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report, which was released on 16 September.

“The force structure goals expressed in the navy's [fiscal year (FY)] 2022 plan have a significant implication for how the distribution of VLS cells on the navy's surface could evolve,” the report noted.

“As a result of those changes (and CBO's assumptions about how those changes would be implemented), more surface combatants and unmanned systems would carry VLS cells, but the total number of VLS cells would be smaller,” it added.

The CBO said that the fleet's total VLS cell capacity represents one of the most important measures of the navy's offensive and defensive firepower.

“In the navy's objective force, the overall firepower (measured by the number of VLS cells) of the surface combatants would be less than it is today, but that force would pose a much harder targeting problem for an opposing fleet because the VLS cells would be deployed on many more ships,” the CBO reported.

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DSEI 2021: Sweden modernises its CB90 fast attack craft fleet

by Nicholas Fiorenza

Saab leased one of Sweden's CB90 NG fast attack craft to show it at DSEI 2021. (Saab)

Sweden is modernising its fast attack craft fleet with the Combat Boat 90 Next Generation, which Saab is showcasing for the first time abroad at Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) 2021, being held in London from 14 to 17 September.

The CB90 NG includes a new combat management system and sensors for surveillance, ballistic protection, and a stabilised Trackfire remote weapon station with 50 calibre and 7.62 mm machine guns and the possibility of arming it with missiles in the future. Saab said the CB90 NG has improved stealth, manoeuvrability, and speed. On 17 September, the company took Janes for a ride on the Thames with the boat, which reached speeds of up to 40 kt, and demonstrated its very short breaking distance.

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DSEI 2021: Babcock, PT PAL ink licence deal for Arrowhead 140 design

by Richard Scott & Ridzwan Rahmat

UK defence group Babcock has signed a design licence agreement with Indonesian shipbuilder PT PAL providing for the build of two Arrowhead 140 frigates at PT PAL's facilities in Surabaya, Indonesia.

Babcock said the deal – signed on board the UK Royal Navy (RN) Type 23 frigate HMS Argyll at the DSEI exhibition in London on 16 September – marked the first export success for the Arrowhead 140 design. However, UK officials concede that PT PAL has yet to receive a construction contract from the Indonesian Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Based on the Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate design previously developed by OMT for the Royal Danish Navy, the Arrowhead 140 baseline forms the basis for the RN's new Type 31 Inspiration-class general-purpose frigate. Babcock was selected for the Type 31 programme in September 2019, with a GBP1.25 billion (USD1.72 billion) contract for five ships signed in November that year.

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South Korea has test-launched a locally developed submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) from a...

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