Keel-laying ceremony of South Korea’s first KSS-III submarine. Source: DSME
- South Korea has laid down the country’s largest submarine
- Vessel will significantly improve the South Korean Navy’s subsurface fighting capabilities
South Korean shipbuilder, Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME), has laid down the country’s first KSS-III submarine, a company official confirmed with IHS Jane’s on 19 May.
A keel-laying ceremony for the vessel was held at DSME’s Okpo shipyard on Geoje Island, south of Busan on 17 May. Steel for the boat was first cut in November 2014.
DSME was contracted by South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) to construct the first two 3,000-tonne submarines for the Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN) in late 2012. The KSS-III platform will be the largest submarines in the RoKN inventory once the first-of-class comes into service around 2020.
According to specifications provided by the company, the KSS-III submarine features an overall length of about 83.5 m, an overall breadth of 7.7 m and a height of 14.7 m. The platform has a maximum speed of about 20 kt, a cruising range of 10,000 n miles and can accommodate a crew of 50.
The KSS-III submarines will be equipped with the Series 30 non-hull penetrating optronic search mast system from Sagem that can accommodate up to four electro-optical (EO) payloads and electronic warfare and GPS antennas.
The platform will also be fitted with six-cell vertical launching system (VLS) that can deploy the Cheon Ryong land-attack cruise missile that has a range of up to 1,500 km. The submarine will be equipped with a weapon handling and launch system from Babcock that features a programmable firing valve launch system, similar to the ones in use on the Royal Navy’s Astute-class boats.
DSME is scheduled to deliver the second KSS-III submarine by 2022. The RoKN is expected to operate a fleet of up to nine vessels in the class.
Korean Attack Submarine KSS-III
In May 2009, South Korea decided to delay by two years its KSS-III project. The project is expected to cost around 800 million dollars per ship (597 million euros).
The first KSS-III ship will be ready for service by 2025. The previous plan was to have an operational unit ready by 2017. Due to the relatively heavy displacement of the ship (3000~3500 tons) and the fact that it will be built with local Korean technologies (sensitive technologies might be blocked from export) the production of the submarine was delayed. This new class of ship will have the Vertical Launch System which will be able to carry up to 10 indigenous Hyunmoo cruise missiles. The first submarine in the Republic of Korea Navy to have this kind of capability. It will also have many other improvements compared to its predecessors.
Since the class is still at an early stage of development as stated above there are many competing designs for the class, mainly the Diesel-electric powered version and the Nuclear powered version. The diesel-electric version is cheaper than the nuclear-powered version. However sponsors for the nuclear-powered version of the submarine say that in order to tackle threats beyond North Korea, such as PLA SSBNs, they need a submarine with endurance only provided by nuclear power.
Series 30 SOM: Search Optronic Mast
The Series 30 SOM is a non-penetrating search optronic mast. In addition to its advanced antisurface search capabilities (it can scan the full horizon within a few seconds with all its optronic sensors), it can function as an automatic aerial alarm, make use of a laser, receive aerial telecommunications or use an ESM electronic-warfare sensor. Integrating high performance optronic sensors (HDTV and MWIR as a baseline, LRF, LLLTV, IR beeper, backup day/night camera, all available simultaneously), the Series 30 AOM is the ultimate situation awareness tool for all situations at periscopic depth. It is the ideal complement of the Series 30 AOM (Attack Optronic Mast), with whom it shares a common physical interface (with the mast raising equipment, same dip loop cables, and electronics cabinet), and functional interface (HMI, CMS data; NAV data, etc.). @sagem.com
Hyunmoo-3 cruise missile
Hyunmoo-3A, which was nicknamed “Eagle-1” (독수리-1) during the testing, has a range of 500 km, while Hyunmoo-3B, nicknamed “Eagle-2” (독수리-2), has a range of 1,000 km. Hyunmoo-3C, or “Eagle-3” (독수리-3), will be capable of striking its target up to 1,500 km away. This is a significant improvement from Hyunmoo I which had a range of 180 km and Hyunmoo-2, which only has a range of 300 km, both of which were ballistic and not cruise missiles
It is powered by a turbofan engine, much like other subsonic cruise missiles of its type, and has a payload of up to 500 kilograms. The guidance systems consist of Inertial Guidance System and Global Positioning System.
The maximum payload of the missile is rated at 500 kilograms of conventional explosive.
King Sejong the Great class destroyers and KSS-III class submarines will be equipped with these missiles inside their Vertical Launching System (K-VLS). @wikiwand.com