The South Korean Arms Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said it has signed a 985.7 billion won (US$853 million) deal with Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. to build a new 3,600-ton-class submarine capable of firing submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). The DAPA signed the contract Thursday for the second unit of three Dosan Ahn Changho-class Batch-II class submarines that South Korea plans to build by 2029. Construction of the first unit began just last month. The deal comes a month after the Navy received the country’s first 3,000-ton-class indigenous submarine, Dosan Ahn Chang-ho.
The Dosan Ahn Changho-class submarines are the final phase of the Korean Attack Submarine program, a three-phased program to build 27 attack submarines for the Republic of Korea Navy between 1994 and 2029. On 25 April 2016 there was a South Korean Congressional Hearing session held immediately after North Korea’s SLBM launch, which raised some important questions about the ROK Navy’s submarine capabilities to counter this threat. In response to questions whether the ROK Navy was currently developing capabilities to counter the SLBM threat. The lead vessel, Dosan Anh Changho, was launched in 2018. It began sea trials in 2019 and entered service on 13 August 2021.
The KSS-III (also known as Dosan Ahn Chang-ho)-class diesel-electric attack submarines (SSKs) class will have a submarine version of the Korean Vertical Launching System which will be able to carry up to ten indigenous “Chonryong” land-attack cruise missiles and “Hyunmoo” submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM), becoming the first submarine in the South Korean navy to have this kind of capability. It will be designed with nearly 80 percent of its component parts made locally. These upgrades will give the Batch-II submarines better capabilities at both attacking strategic land-based facilities and performing anti-submarine warfare.
The new submarine is also expected to have 10 vertical launch tubes for SLBMs, With a displacement of 3,600 tonnes and measuring 89 m in length, the ‘Batch II’ submarines will be larger than those from the previous batch (3,358 tonnes and 83.5 m long). The KSS-III Batch II will have the same overall beam (9.6) and top speed (20 kt), as those from the first batch. Carrying 50 crewmembers aboard, the 89-meter-long and 9.6-meter-wide submarine will be equipped with improved combat capabilities to better detect and target enemies and partially powered by Samsung SDI lithium-ion batteries.