Yonhap News Agency reported that South Korea successfully test-fired two submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) consecutively earlier this month, in a sign the missile is nearing its operational deployment. The Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) launched the SLBMs at an interval of 20 seconds from the 3,000-ton Dosan Ahn Chang-ho submarine in the Yellow Sea on Monday. They flew some 400 kilometers and hit the preset maritime targets. The test came after the country successfully carried out an SLBM test-launch from the submarine in September last year, becoming the world’s seventh country with homegrown SLBMs.
ROKS Dosan Ahn Changho (SS-083) is the lead ship of Dosan Ahn Changho-class submarines. She is expected to be commissioned in 2020. The Dosan Ahn Changho-class submarines, also classified as the KSS-III submarine – is a series of diesel-electric attack submarines currently being built for the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN), jointly by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) and Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI). The KSS-III is the final phase of the Korean Attack Submarine program, a three-phased program to build 27 attack submarines for the ROKN, between 1994–2029. The KSS-III initiative consists of the development of nine diesel-electric attack submarines, capable of firing submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) – to be built in three batches, between 2014–2029.
The Dosan Ahn Changho class are equipped with 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 submarines in the South Korean navy to have this kind of capability. They will also have many other improvements compared to their predecessors built with a greater degree of South Korean technology, especially in the later batches, which will include Samsung SDI lithium-ion batteries. Measured to displace over 3,800 tonnes (3,700 long tons) submerged during sea trials, they are the largest conventional submarines ever built by South Korea.