South Korea launched its second locally-built KSS-III class submarine developed by the national company Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME). It is capable of launching ballistic missiles, which the Korean military is planning to obtain in the future.
A ceremony for the launch of the diesel-powered submarine – speeding up its program to develop indigenous submarines including nuclear-powered vessels – took place at the Okpo Shipyard of DSME on Geoje Island in South Gyeongsang Province.
Called Ahnmu, the newest South Korean submarine with a displacement of 3,000 tons, is equipped with six vertical launch tubes capable of launching ballistic missiles. It is named after Gen. Ahn Mu, an independence fighter who led his forces to victories against the Japanese Imperial Army in the battles of Bongodong and Cheongsanri in northeastern China in 1920.
The vessel is 83.3 meters long and 9.6 meters wide, is capable of carrying 50 crew members, and can operate for 20 days without rising to the surface. Its maximum speed underwater is faster than 20 knots (37 km/h). The KSS-III is the first anaerobic propulsion submarine project entirely developed in South Korea.
Ahnmu submarine’s delivery is scheduled for December 2022, while its implementation will occur in January 2024. South Korea currently operates nine 1,200 ton class submarines and nine 1,800 ton class submarines. The country expects to have a total of 70 submarines in its fleet.
Currently, two more submarines of the KSS-III project are under construction in South Korea. In total, the Korean military plans to include nine ships of this type in the fleet.