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SKorea begins construction of first indigenous submarine

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SEOUL (BNS): South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering has formally started the construction of the country's first indigenous attack submarine with the goal of deploying it by 2020.

The shipbuilder laid down the keel for the first Chang Bogo III-class submarine at its dockyard in Geoje on May 17, the official Yonhap news agency reported quoting a statement from the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).

The steel cutting event for the vessel was held in November 2014.

Under the Chang Bogo III (KSS-III) project, Daewoo will build three 3,000-ton attack submarines by 2024. Each vessel will be armed with six vertical launch missile tubes.

These new ships will be the first batch of the third variant of the Navy's Chang Bogo-class subs.

According to the DAPA, Daewoo had been producing previous versions of the vessel under a license with the German developer Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft, but the Chang Bogo III will be the first South Korean naval submarine to be both designed and produced domestically.

While the present Chang Bogo-class submarines are equipped with torpedoes and anti-ship missiles, the new batch of subs will be able to launch locally made Hyunmoo-2B ballistic missiles that have a range of over 500 kilometers, the Yonhap report said.

The South Korean Navy currently operates over 10 submarines, including the 1,200-ton Type 209 subs (Chang Bolo class) and the 1,800-ton Type 214 subs.

The new 3,000-ton class of submarines will be the largest ones to be operated by the Republic of Korea Navy.

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