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HD Hyundai Heavy Industries has delivered the third KSS-III submarine

The South Korean company HD Hyundai Heavy Industries has delivered the third diesel-electric submarine of the KSS-III/Jang Bogo 3 type to the domestic navy.

On Thursday, April 4, 2024, the South Korean company HD Hyundai Heavy Industries (HD HHI) announced via the social media platform LinkedIn that it had delivered ROKS Shin Chae-ho (SS-086), the third diesel-electric submarine of the KSS-III/Jang Bogo 3 type of the first batch, to the Republic of Korea Navy (Daehan-minguk Haegun).

Photos: HD HHI

The ceremony took place at the company’s headquarters in Ulsan with the participation of representatives from the Ministry of National Defense of the Republic of Korea and the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), as well as over 20 guests from the governmental level of 9 countries: Australia, Ecuador, the Philippines, Canada, Colombia, Peru, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the USA.

I am glad to have this opportunity to share the excellence of our submarines, which have been delivered on time, with the world. We will continue to work with the Government as part of our ‘Team Korea’ effort to stay fully committed and make tangible results in K-defense exports, said Wonho Joo, Senior Executive Vice President of HD Hyundai Heavy Industries’ Naval & Special Ship Business Unit (NSSBU).

Meanwhile, HD Hyundai Heavy Industries has secured export orders for a total of eighteen naval vessels, including four recently, which will be built locally for the Peruvian Navy.


In total, three KSS-III vessels were ordered as part of the first series. Two of them were built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (now part of Hanwha Ocean) under a contract dated December 26, 2012, valued at 1.56 billion USD. The first one, ROKS Dosan Ahn Changho (SS-083), was delivered on August 13, 2021, while the second one, initially named Son Byong-Hi, was delivered on April 20, 2023, under the name ROKS Ahn Mu (SS-085).

The contract for the third unit was signed on November 30, 2016, with the then Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) – the keel was laid on April 11, 2019. The launching took place on September 28, 2021, followed by a 30-month testing program. Initially, all three were to be in service by the end of 2023. The program also involves domestic companies LIG Nex1, Doosan, Hanwha, and STX Engine, as well as British BMT and Babcock, providing technical support, Spanish Indra, and French Safran.

Unlike the Jang Bogo class under the KSS-I/Jang Bogo 1 program (9 ships of the German Type 209/1200 class from 1989-2001) and the Sohn Won-yil class under the KSS-II/Jang Bogo 2 program (9 ships of the Type 214 class from 2002-2020), the vessels built under the KSS-III program are the first domestically constructed submarines ever. Work on the KSS-III program began in 2004, initially jointly undertaken by DSME and HHI. In 2007, the decision was made to select the DSME design. The program also entails the construction of 9 submarines, in three series, each differing from the others.

The first series of KSS-III submarines have a length of 83.5 meters, a width of 9.6 meters, a draft of 7.6 meters, a surface displacement of 3358 tons, and a submerged displacement of 3705 tons. The crew consists of 50 officers and sailors. The conventional diesel-electric propulsion is supplemented by four Bumhan Industry PH1 fuel cells with a power of 150 kW each, forming an air-independent propulsion (AIP) system. They achieve a speed of 20 knots underwater and 12 knots on the surface. The range is approximately 10,000 nautical miles. The armament of KSS-III consists of 6 torpedo tubes with a caliber of 533 mm for heavy torpedoes K744 Baek Sang Eo and UGM-84L Harpoon Block II anti-ship missiles, as well as 6 Korean Vertical Launch System (K-VLS) vertical launchers for Hyunmu-3 family cruise missiles with a range of 500 to 1500 km and for six Hyunmu-4-4 submarine-launched ballistic missiles (K-SLBM) with a range of 500 km, armed with conventional warheads.

On March 30, 2023, at the Hanwha Ocean shipyard, the keel was laid for the future ROKS Lee Bong-chang (SS-087), the first unit of the second series, with a length of 89 meters, which is scheduled for delivery in 2026. The second series will be capable of launching 10 Hyunmu-4-4 ballistic missiles and will be equipped with lithium-ion batteries (Li-Ion), enabling weeks-long underwater operations over large distances. This will serve as the basis for future export models – the company offers them in the Polish Orka program.

The next two ships of the second series will also be delivered by Hanwha Ocean. The steel cutting for the second unit took place in December 2023, and delivery is scheduled for 2028.


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