On August 13, the South Korean Navy commissioned the first Changbogo-III Batch-I class submarine.
The 3,000-ton indigenous sub can launch submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) to augment underwater defense capabilities.
The mid-class diesel air-independent propulsion submarine, named after prominent South Korean independence fighter Dosan Ahn Chang-ho, was commissioned at Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co.’s Okpo Shipyard on the southern island of Geoje.
It is the first of three 3,000-ton Changbogo-III Batch-I subs that South Korea plans to build using its own technologies by 2023 as part of a 3.09 trillion won ($2.7 billion) project that began in 2007.
The most recent submarine was designed in the United States, with 76 percent of its component parts manufactured in the United States.
The 83.5-meter-long, 9.6-meter-wide submarine can carry 50 crew members and fire submarine-to-ground ballistic missiles from six vertical launching tubes. According to officials, it can operate underwater for 20 days without surfacing.
After a year of testing, the Navy expects the Dosan Ahn Chang-ho to be ready for deployment in August of next year.
“After the deployment, the submarine will take an active role as the country’s strategic weapons system against threats,” the South Korean Navy said in a release.
South Korea currently operates subs weighing 1,200 and 1,800 tons.
North Korea is thought to have 70 submarines, the majority of which are known to be obsolete and unfit for operations beyond coastal waters. It has been working on a new sub that is expected to be 3,000 tons and capable of carrying SLBMs.
Check out Naval Library App to find out the specifications of the South Korean submarines.