Jumat, Februari 05, 2010

KSS II : South Korea Orders 6 More U-214 AIP Submarines

The German Type 214 was selected by Korea over the French/Spanish Scorpene Class that has been ordered by Chile, India, and Malaysia. Some would argue that U-214s are the most advanced diesel-electric submarines on the market, with an increased diving depth of over 400 meters, an optimized hull and propeller design, ultra-modern internal systems, and an Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system that lets the diesel submarine stay submerged for long periods without needing to surface and snorkel air.

South Korea ordered its first 3 KSS-II/ Type 214 boats in 2000, which were assembled by Hyundai Heavy Industries. The Batch 2 order will add 6 more of the 65m, 1,700t boats, effectively doubling the ROKN’s number of modern submarines. The latest development is a $16 million order for Saab electronic systems for the 2nd batch of 214 submarines.

DAPA has selected Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering to build the first boat from Batch 2, and expects to send out another set of tenders for the 5th U-214 boat in 2009.

The KSS-II Batch 2 submarines will include some improvements. HDW’s existing AIP system uses Siemens PEM fuel cells which produce 120 kW per module, and give the submarine an underwater endurance of 2 weeks. This second batch of the Sohn Won-Yil Class will reportedly improve on that system.

On the other hand, Korean newspapers have been reporting high noise levels in previous ships of class, due to propeller shaft problems. Time will tell if Batch 2 submarines manage to fix that issue.

These U214 submarines will join the 3 existing U-209 Chang Bo-go Class boats from the ROKN’s KSS-I program, which were transferred from the German Navy between 1992-1994. The first 2 KSS-II boats of the 1,980 ton U-214 Sohn Won-Yil Class, SS 072 and SS 073, were delivered to the ROK Navy in December 2007 and 2008.

A 1 trillion won KSS-III program is also planned, wherein South Korea would design and manufacture an indigenous 3,000 ton submarine with an Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system to supplement its diesels, and Korean submarine combat systems and land attack cruise missiles. The submarines were originally slated for a 2020 introduction, but in May 2009 they were moved back to 2022.

In Dec 29/09: Saab in Stockholm, Sweden, announced that it is working with South Korean defense firm LIG Nex1 to supply naval electronic support measure (ESM) system for the South Korean Navy’s 2nd batch of U-214 submarines. The ESM order value is approximately 11 million euro ($16 million). LIG Nex1 will produce Saab’s ESM system for the delivery to Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) for the 2nd batch of U-214 submarines for the South Korean Navy.

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