Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) launched the third KSS-III submarine for the Republic of Korea Navy in a ceremony on September 28.
The third boat will be named KSS Shin Chae-ho and is expected to join the navy sometime in 2024 after completing further outfitting and subsequent trials.
Shin Chae-ho is the first unit in the class to be built by HHI. The first two were built by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME). One of them has already been delivered and is supporting significant testing being carried out by the ROK Navy.
The 3,000-ton submarines are the first in the country’s fleet capable of launching submarine-launched ballistic missile, a capability the lead boat tested earlier this month.
What makes South Korea’s capability unique is the fact that it is the first country in the world to equip a conventionally-powered submarine with the SLBM capability.
Also referred to as the Dosan Ahn-class, the boats will measure 83.3 meters in length and carry six vertical launch tubes. Ahn Mu, the second submarine in the series, is scheduled for delivery next year.
South Korea is also working on a second batch of KSS-III submarines that will feature lithium-ion battery systems for increased autonomy and improved sonar and combat systems capabilities.