HHI floats out third KSS-III submarine built for South Korean navy

South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) has launched the third 3000-ton KSS-III submarine built for the Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN).

The launching ceremony took place on 28 September 2021 at HHI’s shipyard in Ulsan. Named Shin Chae-ho, the newbuild is the last in series of three South Korean mid-sized submarines designed and built locally, using domestic technology.

The unit features a length of 83 meters, a width of 9.6 meters, and can reach a speed of 20 knots when submberged. Additionally, the new diesel-electric submarine is fitted with noise-reduction technology.

The vessel is also equipped with air-independent propulsion (AIP) system featuring hydrogen fuel cells, according to the company. It is scheduled for delivery in 2024.

KSS-III (Jangbogo-III) class, also known as Dosan Ahn Chang-ho class, is a series of next-generation diesel-electric attack submarines being built to strengthen the naval defence capability of the Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN).

The KSS-III project involves the development of nine attack submarines being built in three batches as part of South Korea’s indigenous submarine production program.

With a lengthened hull, the Batch II Dosan Ahn Changho-class submarines 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. 

The first and the second KSS-III submarine was constructed by South Korean shipbuilding company Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME). The firm launched the second KSS-III submarine in November 2020.

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