The South Korea State Arms Procurement Agency approved a plan Monday to develop homegrown lightweight torpedoes by 2028 to enhance the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN)’s anti-submarine capabilities. The move came after North Korea test-fired a new submarine-launched ballistic missile last month, in a development that underscored the need for the Republic of Korea Navy to reinforce its underwater defense capabilities. North Korea has a large fleet of aging submarines, but has yet to deploy operational ballistic missile submarines.
The South Korea Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) reported that Presided over by Defense Minister Suh Wook, the Defense Project Promotion Committee endorsed the project worth 160 billion won ($135 million). The committee also approved a project worth 470 billion won to supply GPS-guided bombs for Air Force operations by 2027. Following the approval, related contracts with foreign firms will take effect this year. The project to secure guided bombs will significantly improve the country’s air defense capability in any weather conditions.
In 2017, the U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Republic of Korea of thirty-one (31) MK 54 All Up Round lightweight torpedoes, torpedo containers, Recoverable Exercise Torpedoes (REXTORP) with containers, Fleet Exercise Section (FES) and fuel tanks with support for an estimated cost of $72 million. The Republic of Korea Navy intends to utilize MK 54 lightweight torpedoes on its P-8A aircraft. The principal contractor will be Raytheon Integrated Defense System, Portsmouth, Rhode Island.
Local defence firm LIG Nex1 has developed the K745 Cheong Sangeo (Blue Shark) torpedo for the country’s naval platforms. It is a light anti-submarine torpedo with an operational range of 19km. The K745 Chung Sang Eo (Blue Shark) torpedo is a light anti-submarine torpedo developed for the Republic of Korea Navy in 2004. The Blue Shark torpedo can be deployed from surface ships, ASW helicopters and maritime patrol aircraft. Production cost for each torpedo is at about ? 1,000,000,000. Blue Shark torpedoes are fitted to the Incheon class frigate (FFX).