South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co (DSME) announced that it has received a contract for the design and construction of an upgraded Changbogo III (KSS-III) submarine for the Republic of Korea Navy.
The class is also referred to as the Dosan Ahn Changho-class, after the lead boat which was launched in 2018 and started trials in 2019.
While the shipbuilder did not specify, the 1.1 trillion won (approx. US$926 million) contract could be for design work on the second batch of the largest subs to be built in South Korea.
The Batch II Dosan Ahn Changho-class are expected to incorporate further upgrades such as the locally developed lithium-ion battery system that would enable them to stay submerged for extended periods of time. They will also have improved sonar and combat systems performance.
What is more, the second batch is expected to have 10 vertical launch cells, compared to 6 on the first batch of submarines.
A total of nine indigenously built KSS III diesel-electric attack submarines are planned for construction at DSME and Hyundai Heavy Engineering. They are part of the ROK Navy’s attack submarine program which, once complete, will equip the service with a total of 27 submarines built in three phases.