DSME Launched ROK Navy's 1st 3000 tons KSS-III Submarine Dosan Ahn Chang-ho

Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) launched the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy's first 3,000 tons submarine on September 14, 2018. South Korea's president Moon Jae-in attended the launching ceremony of the locally designed KSS-III (Jangbogo–III-class) named "Dosan An Chang-Ho" at DSME's Geoje shipyard.

DSME Launched ROK Navys 1st 3000 tons KSS III Submarine Dosan Ahn Chang ho 1 "Dosan An Chang-Ho" is the first KSS III submarine. DSME Picture

The submarine SS 083, Dosan An Chang-Ho is named after one of the leaders of the Korean indepenence movement of the early twentieth century (1878-1938). The Ahn Chang-ho submarine will be delivered to the ROK Navy sometime between 2020 and 2021, and after a year-long trial campaign, the vessel will be ready to conduct military missions.. With the construction of this ship, South Korea has entered a narrow club of countries that independently design and build submarines.

"The launch of the Dosan Ahn Chango-ho submarine displays our capabilities for national defense, and starting with the event, our defense industry will take a big leap forward" Moon said in a speech during the launch ceremony.

"We are on track to increase the localization ratio for the submarine manufacturing project" a DAPA official said. "Korea can now manufacture most of the key submarine components - including sonars systems - without the help of overseas technologies. For upcoming projects, we are going to increase the ratio to hold tighter grip on naval defense capabilities".

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.

 Video: Launch ceremony of the first KSS-III submarine at DSME Geoje shipyard.

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).

DSME Launched ROK Navys 1st 3000 tons KSS III Submarine Dosan Ahn Chang ho 2"Dosan An Chang-Ho" is the first KSS III submarine. DSME Picture

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