KSS-III submarine

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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).[4] 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.[22]

Jangbogo- 1464856891.jpg
Model of a Dosan Ahn Changho-class (Batch-I) submarine.
Class overview
Builders
Operators Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN)
Preceded bySon Won-il class (Type 214 submarine)
CostUSD $900,000,000 per submarine[1]
Built2014–present[4]
In service2021-present[2]
Planned9[5]
Building4[6][7]
Completed1[3]
Active1[2]
General characteristics
TypeAttack submarine
Displacement
  • Batch-I:-
  • 3,358 t (3,305 long tons) (Surfaced)[4]
  • 3,750 t (3,690 long tons) (Submerged)[4]
  • Batch-II:-
  • 3,600 t (3,500 long tons)[9]
Length
  • Batch-I:-
  • 83.5 m (273 ft 11 in)[4]
  • Batch-II:-
  • 89.0 m (292 ft 0 in)[11]
Beam
  • Batch-I:-
  • 9.6 m (31 ft 6 in)[4]
  • Batch-II:-
  • 9.6 m (31 ft 6 in)[13]
Draught
  • Batch-I:
  • 7.62 m (25 ft 0 in)
Propulsion
Speed
  • 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph) (surfaced)[21]
  • 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph) (submerged)[21]
Range10,000 nmi (19,000 km; 12,000 mi)[8]
Endurance20 days (submerged)[12]
Complement50[4]
Sensors and
processing systems
Armament
NotesFirst-ever AIP-equipped submarine capable of launching submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM).[19]

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.[4][23]

A total of three submarines of the first batch of the series have been launched, with the first submarine, ROKS Dosan Ahn Changho, being commissioned on 13 August 2019.[2]

DesignEdit

BackgroundEdit

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.[24][25] 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.[26][27]

Batch-IEdit

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.[28]

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.[29][16][30][31] According to DSME, over 76% of the submarine's components were procured from within South Korea.[31]

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.[32] 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.[33]

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.[34] Coincidentally, the KSS-III is the first ever AIP-equipped attack-submarine, capable of launching submarine-launched ballistic missiles.[19]

Batch-IIEdit

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.[35]

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).[36][37] 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.[38][39]

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.[36]

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.[40] 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.[41] 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.[42]

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.[43]

InstrumentationEdit

ArmamentEdit

  • 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.[44][45]
  • 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).[40][46] 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.[43][47]
  • 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.[16]

SensorsEdit

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.[48]
  • Sonar – A sonar suite, developed by LIG Nex1, comprising:-[49]
    • Flank-array sonar (FAS)
    • Towed-array sonar
    • Intercept-passive sonar
    • Continuous-active sonar (CAS)
    • Mine-avoidance sonar, developed by Thales[15]
  • Electronic warfare – "Pegaso" radar electronic support-measures (RESM), developed by Indra.[50]
  • Other systems

ConstructionEdit

Batch-IEdit

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.[16] On 30 November 2016 - the MND contracted HHI to build the third submarine of the series.[28]

The construction of the first submarine began in November 2014, with a "steel-cutting" ceremony at DSME's shipyard in Okpo, South Korea[52] 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.[52] Dosan Ahn Changho began its sea trials in June 2019 and was commissioned into the ROKN on 13 August 2021.[52]

Work on the second submarine began - with the laying of its keel in July 2016.[28] Christened as the Ahn Mu, the submarine was launched on 10 November 2020.[53] It is scheduled to be delivered by 2022.[53]

The construction of the third and final submarine began in June 2017, at HHI's shipbuilding facility in Ulsan, South Korea.[28] Christened as the Shin Chae-ho, the submarine was launched on 28 September 2021.[54] It is scheduled to be delivered by 2024.[54]

Batch-IIEdit

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.[55] On 10 September 2019, DSME was again contracted to build the second Batch-II submarine - at an estimated cost of ₩985.7 billion.[56]

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.[57] The construction of the second submarine began in December 2021 and is scheduled to be delivered to the ROKN by 2028.[58]

Export variantsEdit

DSME-2000Edit

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.[59]

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.[14] 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.[14]

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.[59]

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.[59] The submarine's design also features a flexible weapon launching system - which can be tailored according to the customer's requirements.[14]

Similar to the KSS-III, the DSME-2000 will also be equipped with an AIP module and lithium-ion batteries.[14] The design also includes an assortment of equipment, including -

DSME-3000Edit

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.[60] 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).[61] 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.[60]

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.[60]

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.[62][63] 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.[64]

Ships in the classEdit

Name Pennant Number Builder Laid Down Launched Commissioned Status
Batch-I
ROKS Dosan Ahn Changho SS-083[2] Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) 17 May 2016[28] 14 September 2018[2] 13 August 2021[2] Active[2]
ROKS Ahn Mu SS-085[28] 1 July 2016[28] 10 November 2020[28] Scheduled for 2022[28] Launched[28]
ROKS Shin Chae-ho SS-086[65] Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) 11 April 2019[65] 28 September 2021[65] Scheduled for 2024[65] Launched[65]
Batch-II
ROKS Lee Bong-chang[66] SS-087[67] Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) Scheduled for 2026[67] Under construction[67]

See alsoEdit

Submarines of similar era and comparisonEdit

Other references to the Republic of Korea NavyEdit

ReferencesEdit

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