GEOJE, South Korea --- South Korea was set to launch a new 3,000-ton indigenous submarine featuring advanced combat and sonar systems Tuesday in an effort to boost underwater defense capabilities, the Navy said.
The ceremony for the mid-class diesel-powered submarine, named after a prominent Korean independence fighter, Ahn Mu, was to take place at the Okpo Shipyard of Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co. in the southeastern city of Geoje later in the day.
It is the second of three 3,000-ton-class submarines that South Korea plans to build by 2023 with its own technologies under a 3.09 trillion won ($2.77 billion) project launched in 2007. The first submarine, the Dosan Ahn Chang-ho, was launched in 2018 and is expected to be put into operational deployment around the end of this year.
The 83.3-meter-long and 9.6-meter-wide submarine is capable of carrying 50 crewmembers and can operate underwater for 20 days without surfacing, officials of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said, adding that it will be equipped with six vertical launching tubes capable of firing submarine-based ballistic missiles.
It will be delivered to the Navy and deployed in 2022 after necessary tests, they added.
"As one of the Navy's key strategic assets, this system is expected to allow us to better respond to threats from all directions and boost the national defense capabilities," a Navy official said.
The naming carries significance, as this year marks the centennial of the historic Bongo-dong and Cheongsan-ri battles that took place in northeastern China in 1920, where Gen. Ahn led Korean independent fighters and defeated Japanese soldiers.
The general sustained gunshot wounds after an ambush attack by Japanese officers, and he was arrested in 1924. He died that year.
Currently, South Korea operates nine 1,200-ton submarines and nine 1,800-ton ones.