ROK Navy Commissions Her First KSS III Submarine

South Korea commissioned its first Dosan Ahn Changho-class (KSS III program) submarine. ROKS Dosan Ahn Chang-ho (SS-083) was built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) for the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy.

The ROK Navy commissioned first indigenous-built Dosan Ahn Changho-class submarine capable of firing submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) to enhance underwater defense capabilities, officials said.

The commissioning ceremony of the submarine, named after South Korean independence fighter Dosan Ahn Chang-ho, was held at Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co.’s Okpo shipyard on the southern island of Geoje.

The Dosan Ahn Chang-ho will be deployed by August 2022 after a year of evaluations according to the Navy.

“After the deployment, the submarine will take an active role as the country’s strategic weapons system against threats,” outlined the ROK Navy in a press release.

About South Korea’s KSS III Submarines

The basic design for a rather large ( 3358 tons surface standard displacement, up to 3800 submerged, for the batch 1) SSK type submarine started in 2004 jointly by Hyundai Heavy Industries and DSME corporations. Local companies LIG Nex1, Hanwha and STX Engine are also involved in the project, as well as British companies BMT and Babcock who provide technical assistance.

The KSS-III Batch 1 submarine has a length of 83.5 meters, a width of 9.6 meters, and a draft of 7.7 meters. Its maximum submerged speed is 20 knots, and the cruising range at economic speed is 10,000 nautical miles. The crew consists of 50 sailors.

KSS-III Batch 1 submarines are fitted with eight 533-mm torpedo tubes as well as 6x VLS (vertical launch system) tubes. They would accommodate a future cruise missile (the Cheon Ryong with a range of 1,500 Km) in development by LIG Nex1 while the launchers would be provided by Doosan. It was announced earlier in the program that Spanish company INDRA was selected to provide its electronic defense system (ESM) PEGASO and Babcock of the UK would design and manufacture the Weapon Handling System for the Batch-I submarines. French companies Safran is supplying the optronic masts for the class and ECA Group the steering consoles. Other South Korean content include the flank array sonars (provided by LIG Nex1) and the combat management system (provided by Hanwha).

Construction on first of class SS 083 ‘Dosan An Chang-Ho’ started with the first steel cutting ceremony held at the DSME shipyard in Okpo on November 27, 2014. The naming ceremony took place there on May 17, 2016. The boat was named in honor of one of the leaders of the Korean nationalist movement of the early twentieth century. The launch took place on September 14, 2018.

The keel laying of the second vessel SS 085 ‘Ahn Moo’ took place at DSME shipyard on July 1, 2016 and was launched on November 10, 2020. Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan started construction of the third boat and final vessel of the first batch, SS 086 ‘Yi Dongnyeong’, on June 30, 2017.

Compared to the first batch, KSS III Batch II submarines are expected to have a longer hull (bringing displacement approx. from 3000t to 4000t), 10x VLS tubes (up from 6x), a greater level of South Korea systems and Lithium-Ion batteries and High-Temperature Superconductor (HTS) motor technology for the integrated full electric propulsion system.

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