South Korea held a launching ceremony Friday for a 3,000-ton indigenous submarine, a new strategic weapons system designed to bolster underwater defense capabilities.
The ceremony for the diesel-electric air-independent propulsion submarine, named after a prominent South Korean independence fighter, Dosan Ahn Chang-ho, took place at the Okpo Shipyard of Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co. on the southern island of Geoje.
The ceremony was attended by 350 people, including government and military officials and employees of the shipbuilder, the Navy said.
"The Dosan Ahn Chang-ho submarine is the Navy's first mid-class submarine and has been built with a combination of cutting-edge technologies," the Navy said in a press release. "This is a national strategic weapons system capable of responding to all threats, and it will help strengthen the Navy's defense capabilities."
While the country's existing 1,200-ton and 1,800-ton submarines were built with technological assistance from Germany defense firms, the latest submarine has been domestically designed, and 76 percent of its component parts were made by Korean businesses.
The new 83.3-meter-long, 9.6-meter-wide submarine capable of carrying 50 crewmembers is equipped with six vertical launching tubes capable of firing submarine-to-ground ballistic missiles and can operate underwater for 20 days without surfacing, officials explained.
It is set to be delivered to the Navy in December 2020 after tests. Its operational deployment is slated for January 2022. It costs around 1 trillion won per unit.
The construction of the new submarine is part of South Korea's project to domestically build the 3,000-ton Changbogo-III submarine. The project, worth 3.33 trillion won ($2.97 billion), was launched in 2007 and is set to end in 2023.