DSME to Launch ROK Navy's First 3000 tons KSS-III Submarine on Friday

Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) will launch the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy's first 3,000 tons submarine this Friday, September 14, 2018, Navy Recognition has learned from a company representative. South Korea's president Moon Jae-in is expected to attend the launch of the locally designed KSS-III (Jangbogo–III-class) large diesel-electric submarine at DSME's Geoje shipyard.

DSME to Launch ROK Navys First 3000 tons KSS III Submarine on Friday KSS III submarine CGI (DAPA Image)

Jangbogo III programme

Under the Jangbogo III programme, the first submarine is due to be launched in 2018 and handed over to the ROK Navy at the end of 2020 following two years of sea trials. The second submarine will be delivered at the end of 2022. KSS-III is expected to be produced in three batches:
Batch-I consists in the first two hulls to be built by DSME and the third submarine to be built by HHI.
Batch-II will consist in three hulls with some design changes. They will be fitted with a greater deal of South Korean technology. In May 2016, DAPA selected DSME for “KSS-III Batch-II Design and construction of the first hull”.
Batch-III will consists in the three remaining hulls (for a total of nine KSS-III submarines across all batches). The last submarine is expected to be delivered in 2029.

KSS III keel laying DSME Keel laying ceremony of the first KSS-III submarine at DSME Geoje shipyard. Picture: DSME

The first steel cutting ceremony for the first Batch-I vessel was held in November 2014 and the keel laying took place in May 2016.

The original design of the submarine includes 6x VLS (vertical launch system) tubes. They would accomodate a future cruise missile in development by LIG Nex1 while the launchers would be provided by Doosan. It was announced earlier in the program that Spanish company INDRA was selected to provide its electronic defense system (ESM) PEGASO and Babcock of the UK would design and manufacture the Weapon Handling System for the Batch-I submarine.

It was officialy announced during Euronaval 2014 that Sagem (now Safran Defense Electronics) would supply the optronic masts for the class. Flank array sonars will be provided by Korean company LIG Nex1. Hanwha contacted Navy Recognition by email to explain they would supply KSS-III's combat management system. The submarine will be fitted with South Korean lithium-ion battery technology (by Hanwha as well).

Future Littoral Combat Ship USS Charleston LCS 18 Delivered to U.S. Navy KSS III submarine scale model 

Detailed specifications of KSS-III (Jangbogo 3) Batch-I:
Full-length 83.5m
Beam 9.6m
Pressure sensor diameter 7.7m
Draught 7.62m
Crew: 50 sailors
Maximum speed: 20 knots
Cruising range" 10,000 nm
Surface tonnage: 3358 tons
Submerged tonnage: 3705 tons

On April 25, 2016 there was a Congressional Hearing session held immediately after North Korea's SLBM launch, which raised some important questions about the ROK Navy's submarine capabilities to counter this threat.

In response to questions whether ROK Navy was currently developing capabilities to counter SLBM threat, the ministry confirmed that KSS-III Batch-II will undergo redesign process before construction (lasting until December 30, 2018) to accommodate some important capability upgrades. These upgrades will give the Batch-II Submarines better capabilities at both attacking strategic land-based facilities and performing anti-submarine warfare.

According to the recent DAPA statement, the Next Generation Submarine Project Team held a "System Functional Review" meeting on KSS-III Batch-II submarine in late June 2017. Through this meeting, the project team was able to confirm the design requirements for the Batch-II submarine under development are well reflected in the design. As a result, following the Batch-I, the Batch-II program has been promoted and the design has begun to materialize.

Expected changes of Batch-II compared to Batch-I:
» Lengthened hull (bringing displacement approx. from 3000t to 4000t)
» Increase of VLS cells from 6 to 10
» Indigenous combat system and sensors
» LiB and, potentially, High-Temperature Superconductor (HTS) motor for integrated full electric propulsion system