South Korea launches new 3,000-ton ballistic missile submarine

The Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy and the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) have launched a new 3,000-ton-class homegrown submarine, the Shin Chae-ho, capable of firing ballistic missiles.

The 83.5-meter-long and 9.6-meter-wide submarine, built entirely with South Korean technology, is the third of its kind designed to boost underwater defense capabilities. The submarine is capable of being armed with Seoul’s new submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM).

The launch ceremony took place at the shipyard of Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) in the city of Ulsan, in the southeast section of South Korea. The new submarine, named after a prominent Korean independence activist, Shin Chae-ho, represents the third and the final of three Changbogo-III Batch-I submarines South Korea has been building with its own technologies under a $2.77 billion project launched in 2007. All three of the new boats are capable of firing submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).

The first one of the class, the Dosan Ahn Chang-ho submarine, was launched in 2018 and was deployed last month, while the second Ahn Mu submarine was launched in November last year and will be received by the Korean navy next year, according to officials, reports Korea Times.

Shin Chae-ho is the same Dosan Ahn Chang-ho-class that recently succeeded in several SLBM launch tests, being capable of carrying 6 VLS launchers that can fire SLBMs.

When the newest submarine joins the South Korean fleet in 2024, after undergoing further fitting out and sea trials, it will be capable of carrying 50 crewmembers at the maximum speed of 20 knots (37 km/h). It features air-independent propulsion (AIP) system that enables the submarine to operate underwater for 20 days without surfacing.

Earlier in September, South Korea revealed its first homegrown SLBM by announcing the successful test launch from the Dosan Ahn Chang-ho submarine.

KSS Shin Chae-ho will go through the sea trial period and is scheduled to be delivered to the ROK Navy in 2024 when would be deployed at sea.

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