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South Korea cuts steel for second KSS-III ‘Batch II' submarine

South Korea has carried out a steel-cutting ceremony for another KSS-III submarine, a Defense Acquisition Program Administration spokesperson told Janes on 30 December.

The submarine is the second KSS-III ‘Batch II' boat on order for the Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN), the spokesperson added.

Steel for the vessel was cut at the premises of South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering's (DSME's) facilities in Okpo. The company secured a KRW985.7 billion (USD827 million) contract to build the vessel earlier in 2021.

DSME began work on the first KSS-III ‘Batch II' submarine in August 2021. The boat has a standard displacement of 3,600 tonnes and an overall length of 89 m. These dimensions make the vessel type slightly larger than its ‘Batch I' predecessors, each with an overall length of 83.5 m and a displacement of 3,300 tonnes.

The ‘Batch II' submarines will also be equipped with 10 vertical tubes for submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), four more than the ‘Batch 1' boats which are equipped with six of these. Both submarine types will likely deploy a locally developed SLBM codenamed ‘Hyeonmu 4-4', which is undergoing tests.

It will be equipped with eight 533 mm torpedo tubes that are capable of firing weapons such as the LIG Nex1 Baem Sangeo (Tiger Shark).

The submarine will be equipped with an air-independent propulsion system featuring hydrogen fuel cells and locally made lithium-ion batteries, which are being developed by Hanwha Defense in co-operation with Samsung SDI.

The vessel is scheduled for completion in 2026 and is expected to be handed over to the RoKN in 2028.

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