LIG Nex1 K745 Blue Shark (Cheong Sangeo) lightweight anti-submarine torpedoes
LIG Nex1 K745 Blue Shark (Cheong Sangeo) lightweight anti-submarine torpedoes

LIG Nex1 Awarded Contract to Develop Next-generation Variant of Blue Shark Torpedo

South Korea defense contractor LIG Nex1 awarded as a preferred bidder for a military project to develop the improved version of a light anti-submarine torpedo system called Chungsangeo (Blue Shark) that can be deployed from surface ships, helicopters and aircraft. As part of the research and development (R&D) work, LIG Nex1 will be improving the Blue Shark’s ability to detect and strike hostile submarines while enhancing the weapon’s survivability. The research and development work is expected to be completed by 2029, with mass production to commence after.

The K745 Blue Shark (Chungsangeo ) with an operational range of 19 kilometers (11.8 miles) is 2.7 meters long and weighs 280 kilograms. Chungsangeo-II will have improved detection and attack capabilities. The Blue Shark is an LIG Nex1-developed 324 mm lightweight anti-submarine torpedo that can be launched from surface ships, helicopters, and maritime patrol aircraft. Powered by a liquid fuel motor, the weapon can operate in shallow waters at top speeds in excess of 45 kt, and has a maximum range of approximately 6.5 n miles. The production cost for each torpedo is at about ? 1,000,000,000.

LIG Nex1 K745 Blue Shark (Cheong Sangeo) lightweight anti-submarine torpedoes

The Chungsangeo-II project overseen by the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) requires about 150 billion won ($123 million) by 2029 to develop torpedoes that can attack targets quickly and accurately from a long distance. The torpedo has been in service with the Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN) since 2005. The Philippine Navy has also selected the weapon type for its two Leonardo AW159 Lynx Wildcat anti-submarine warfare (ASW) naval helicopters. The new torpedo project would significantly increase the viability of South Korean warships with an effective response to enemy submarines

South Korea has developed various torpedoes. Hongsangeo (Red Shark) is deployed on surface ships, helicopters and anti-submarine patrol aircraft. The precision-guided torpedo with an operational range of 19 km can be launched vertically from ships before being deployed by parachute near the intended target and submerging into the sea to track and destroy targets. Bumsangeo (Tiger Shark) is a wire-guided heavyweight torpedo being developed to strike enemy surface ships and submarines from a distance. The Tiger Shark torpedo weighs 1.7 tons and has a range of 50 km.

LIG Nex1 K745 Blue Shark (Cheong Sangeo) lightweight anti-submarine torpedoes