The KSS-III submarine, also classified as the Dosan Ahn Changho-class submarines - 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.
Model of a Dosan Ahn Changho-class (Batch-I) submarine.
|Operators||Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN)|
|Preceded by||Son Won-il class (Type 214 submarine)|
|Cost||USD $900,000,000 per submarine|
|Range||10,000 nmi (19,000 km; 12,000 mi)|
|Endurance||20 days (submerged)|
|Sensors and |
|Notes||First-ever AIP-equipped submarine capable of launching submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM).|
The KSS-III initiative consists of the development of nine diesel-electric attack submarines, capable of firing submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM), to be built in three batches, between 2014–2029.
The design of the KSS-III was jointly designed by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) and Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) - two of South Korea's largest shipbuilding enterprises; preparations for the design began in 2007. The KSS-III are the largest submarines to ever be built by South Korea and are reportedly based on the design of the German-origin Type 214 submarine - developed by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) and license-built by both DSME and HHI, between 2002-2020.
The Batch-I series is the first phase of the KSS-III program - consisting of the construction of three attack submarines - with the first two to be built by DSME and the third one to be built by HHI.
The Batch-I design possesses a length of 83.5 metres (273 ft 11 in), with a breadth of 9.6 m (31 ft 6 in) and a draught of 7.62 m (25 ft 0 in) - with a displacement of 3,358 tonnes (3,305 long tons) while surfaced and 3,750 tonnes (3,690 long tons) while submerged; they are the first submarines with a displacement of 3,000 tonnes to ever be built by South Korea. According to DSME, over 76% of the submarine's components were procured from within South Korea.
The Batch-I design has an estimated speed of about 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph) while surfaced, and 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph) while submerged - and possesses a cruising range of around 10,000 nautical miles (19,000 km; 12,000 mi), at economic speed, along with a crew complement of 50. The design further incorporates an indigenously-designed fuel-cell powered air-independent propulsion (AIP) module - which enables the submarine to conduct long-distance underwater operations for up to 20 days.
The design accommodates six Korean Vertical Launching System (K-VLS) cells, located behind the submarine's sail - for carrying six Hyunmoo 4-4 submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM), along with six 533-millimetre (21 in) forward-firing torpedo tubes, located at the bow. Coincidentally, the KSS-III is the first ever AIP-equipped attack-submarine, capable of launching submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
The Batch-II series constitutes the second phase of the KSS-III program - and is noted to possess multiple improvements in terms of design, armament and automation, over the Batch-I series.
The Batch-II design possesses a length of 89 m (292 ft), with a breadth of 9.6 m (31 ft), along with an estimated displacement of around 3,600 t (3,500 long tons). According to DSME, the Batch-II series will be equipped with "a greater level of South Korean technology" - with over 80% of the submarine's parts to be domestically sourced.
Similar to the Batch-I, the Batch-II will also reportedly have a top speed of 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph) and a crew complement of 50.
A notable feature of the Batch-II submarines is its lithium-ion battery technology (LiB); the Batch-II series will be equipped with lithium-ion batteries - developed by Samsung SDI (and supplied by Hanwha Defense), apart from the AIP system. Compared to previous lead-acid batteries which are generally used to power other conventionally-powered submarines, the new lithium-ion batteries will reportedly allow the KSS-III to cruise at greater speeds with a greater period of underwater endurance, life-expectancy and durability. Incidentally, Korea is only the second country in the world to field submarines equipped with lithium-ion batteries; the first is Japan - which utilizes lithium-ion battery technology aboard its Sōryū-class submarines.
The design also incorporates ten (K-VLS) cells (compared to six on the Batch-I) - which are presumably to carry the Hyunmoo 4-4 ballistic missiles and the future Chonryong land-attack cruise missile.
- Torpedoes – The KSS-III is equipped with six 533 mm (21 in) forward-firing torpedo tubes, for firing the "Tiger Shark" heavyweight torpedoes, developed by LIG Nex1.
- Missiles – The Batch-I submarines are equipped with six K-VLS cells, capable of launching the Hyunmoo 4-4 ballistic missiles - which is estimated to possess a range of around 400 km (250 mi). In stark contrast, the Batch-II submarines will be equipped to ten K-VLS cells - presumably for carrying the Hyunmoo 4-4 - as well as the future Chonryong land-attack cruise missile, currently in development.
- Weapon Handling System – The Batch-I vessels are also equipped with a "Weapons Handling and Launch System" (WHLS) - developed by UK-based naval conglomerate Babcock International.
The Batch-I series is currently equipped with an assortment of different sensors and equipment, including:
- Combat Management Suite – A "Naval Shield Integrated Combat Management System" (ICMS), developed by Hanhwa.
- Sonar – A sonar suite, developed by LIG Nex1, comprising:-
- Electronic warfare – "Pegaso" radar electronic support-measures (RESM), developed by Indra.
- Other systems
On 26 December 2012 - South Korea's Ministry of National Defense (MND) contracted DSME to build the first two Batch-I submarines - at an estimated cost of USD $1.56 billion. On 30 November 2016 - the MND contracted HHI to build the third submarine of the series.
The construction of the first submarine began in November 2014, with a "steel-cutting" ceremony at DSME's shipyard in Okpo, South Korea The submarine, christened as the Dosan Ahn Chnagho, was launched in an elaborate ceremony on 14 September 2018 - an event that was attended by senior representatives from South Korea's government and military, including South Korean president Moon Jae-in. Dosan Ahn Changho began its sea trials in June 2019 and was commissioned into the ROKN on 13 August 2021.
Work on the second submarine began - with the laying of its keel in July 2016. Christened as the Ahn Mu, the submarine was launched on 10 November 2020. It is scheduled to be delivered by 2022.
The construction of the third and final submarine began in June 2017, at HHI's shipbuilding facility in Ulsan, South Korea. Christened as the Shin Chae-ho, the submarine was launched on 28 September 2021. It is scheduled to be delivered by 2024.
On 11 October 2019, South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) contracted DSME to design and build the first Batch-II submarine - at an estimated cost KRW ₩1.11 trillion. On 10 September 2019, DSME was again contracted to build the second Batch-II submarine - at an estimated cost of ₩985.7 billion.
The construction of the first submarine - the Lee Bong-chang, began in August 2021 and is scheduled to be delivered to the ROKN in 2026. The construction of the second submarine began in December 2021 and is scheduled to be delivered to the ROKN by 2028.
At the 2019 convention of the "International Maritime Defense Industry Exhibition" (MADEX), held at Busan, South Korea, DSME unveiled the DSME-2000 - a 2,000 t (2,000 long tons), diesel-electric variant of the KSS-III, as an export-oriented design for foreign navies.
The DSME-2000 possesses a length of 70.3 m (230 ft 8 in) and a diameter of 6.3 m (20 ft 8 in), with a crew complement of 40, with additional space for about 10 special forces commandos. The design has an estimated speed of 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) while surfaced, and 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph) while submerged and possesses a cruising range of around 10,000 nmi (19,000 km; 12,000 mi), at cruising speed.
The DSME-2000 displaces at 2,000 tonnes and is larger than South Korea's Jang Bogo-class submarine (based on the Type 209/1400 design) and the Son Won-il class (based on the Type 214 design), but is smaller than the Dosan Ahn Changho class.
The design incorporates an arrangement of eight 533 mm (21.0 in) forward-firing torpedo tubes, with a pack of 16 torpedoes - although this can be combined with an assortment of naval mines and anti-ship missiles. The submarine's design also features a flexible weapon launching system - which can be tailored according to the customer's requirements.
Similar to the KSS-III, the DSME-2000 will also be equipped with an AIP module and lithium-ion batteries. The design also includes an assortment of equipment, including -
- A sonar suite, equipped with :-
- Cylindrical Hydrophone Array
- Intercept Detection and Ranging Sonar
- Flank Array Sonar
- Passive Ranging Sonar
- Active Operation Sonar
- Towed Array Sonar
- A mast-sensor suite, equipped with :-
DSME has offered a 3,000-tonne variant of the KSS-III, known as the DSME-3000 to the Indian Navy, under the latter's Project-75 (India) (P-75I) submarine procurement initiative. The DSME-3000 is noted to be quite similar to the KSS-III, featuring a displacement of about 3,300 t, with a length measuring 83.5 m (273 ft 11 in) and a beam measuring 9.7 m (31 ft 10 in). The DSME-3000 was first displayed to the public at the 2021 convention of the "International Maritime Defense Industry Exhibition" (MADEX), held at Busan, South Korea.
The DSME-3000 will be equipped with lithium-ion batteries and a fuel-cell powered AIP system, as on the KSS-III; however, the variant being offered to India lacks the K-VLS cells, which are standard on both Batch-I and Batch-II submarines being built for the Republic of Korea Navy.
DSME entered the competition in April 2019 and was later shortlisted as a finalist, along with four other international shipyards - ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS), Rubin Design Bureau, Navantia and Naval Group. As of September 2021, the firm is reported to be the only remaining contender; the other four contenders either withdrew or were disqualified from the program, on account of varying reasons.
Ships in the classEdit
|Name||Pennant Number||Builder||Laid Down||Launched||Commissioned||Status|
|ROKS Dosan Ahn Changho||SS-083||Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME)||17 May 2016||14 September 2018||13 August 2021||Active|
|ROKS Ahn Mu||SS-085||1 July 2016||10 November 2020||Scheduled for 2022||Launched|
|ROKS Shin Chae-ho||SS-086||Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI)||11 April 2019||28 September 2021||Scheduled for 2024||Launched|
|ROKS Lee Bong-chang||SS-087||Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME)||Scheduled for 2026||Under construction|
Submarines of similar era and comparisonEdit
- Type 212CD submarine - An exclusive class of attack submarines developed by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems for the German Navy and the Royal Norwegian Navy.
- Type 218SG submarine - An exclusive class of attack submarines developed by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems for the Republic of Singapore Navy.
- Dakar-class submarine - A unique class of diesel-electric attack-submarines developed by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems and currently being built for Israel.
- S-80 Plus submarine - A class of conventionally-powered attack-submarines developed by Navantia for the Spanish Navy.
- Blekinge-class submarine - A class of next-generation attack submarines developed by Kockums for the Swedish Navy
- Sōryū-class submarine - A class of diesel-electric attack-submarines developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporation for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.
- Taigei-class submarine - A class of diesel-electric attack submarines currently being built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force
- Lada-class submarine - A class of diesel-electric attack-submarines developed by Rubin Design Bureau for Russia.
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