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South Korea to develop next-generation variant of Blue Shark torpedo

South Korea has begun a KRW160 billion (USD134 million) programme to develop an improved variant of the K745 Cheong Sangeo (Blue Shark) lightweight anti-submarine torpedo.

South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) first announced via a media statement on 2 November that the country will be developing a torpedo system to strengthen its defences against hostile submarines.

Janes has since clarified with DAPA that the project pertains to research and development (R&D) work for an improved variant of the Blue Shark that was jointly developed by South Korea's Agency for Defense Development and LIG Nex1.

DAPA plans to complete the R&D project by 2028.

The Blue Shark is a 324 mm weapon that is armed with a shaped‐charge warhead designed to penetrate over 1.5 m of steel plate. The torpedo is powered by a liquid fuel motor and is capable of operating in shallow waters at top speeds in excess of 45 kt. It has a range of approximately 6.5 n miles.

The torpedo is in service with the Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN) since 2005. Manila has also opted to arm its two Leonardo AW159 Lynx Wildcat anti-submarine warfare (ASW) naval helicopters with the same weapon, making the Philippine Navy the first export customer of the Blue Shark.

Besides an improved variant of the Blue Shark, DAPA also disclosed on the same day that the country will procure more GPS-guided bombs in the 2,000 lb category for the Republic of Korea Air Force. This procurement is expected to cost approximately KRW470 billion.

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