August 21, 2018

South Korea to Reportedly Launch Its German Designed 3,000 ton submarine in September 2018

South Korean claims that it indigenously (locally) designed its third generation attack submarine,  about to be launched in September 2018, owes much to South Korean pride and German sensitivities. 

Above is what South Korea's 3,000 ton KSS-III (or KSS3) submarine may look like. The first KSS3 (for third generation) will reportedly be launched soon. In the above photo note there are 6 missile launch cells, known as VLS, eventually for SLBMs. The KSS3 may turn out to have 10 SLCMs then (once developed) 10 SLBMs for greater effectiveness. See The Diplomat's useful August 23, 2018 article on KSS3 missile types and numbers.

It would be very unusual that the warheads of SLBMs would remain non-nuclear/conventional. South Korea has examined the steps needed for nuclear warheads for many years. With these cells the KSS3 may well retain the German designed PEM fuel cell AIP. The German designed diesel and electric motors will very likely be retained. It is likely that everything but the launch equipment and missiles are mainly TKMS of Germany designed. 

TKMS and the German government want to distance themselves from any missile issues because South Korea has nuclear weapons potential. North Korea's nuclear weapons are too much of a threat, that South Korea must some day independently deter. 

It must be remembered that Germany's TKMS designed the Type 209 and with the German parts, helped South Korea assemble the first generation Chang Bogo class. TKMS designed the second generation Type 214 and helped South Korea put together components rebadged as the Son Won-Il class.

Three decades of German assistance in helping South Korea build submarines have now become ambiguous because South Korea could eventually mount nuclear tipped missiles on the emerging submarines that will make up the third generation. The German public, media and therefore the German Government are hypersensitive about Germany being seen to assist in nuclear capable missile launch equipment. Experience with the Israeli Navy in 2012 was deeply unsettling in GermanyGermany also does not want to irritate China, the main ally of South Korea's main enemy, North Korea. Put another way, Germany does not want to anger its important trade partner, China. 

So the story that South Korea designed its one day nuclear capable third generation subs without German help is a much more prudent story. And wholly "South Korean designed and built submarines" is a source of national pride defense budget building.

South Korea would not have avoided the corporate knowledge benefits of several large TKMS German 3,000+ ton design projects, which included the TKMS Type 216 proposed for Australia. Submarine Matters has been reporting on South Korea's third generation 3,000 ton KSS-III for years. See this wiki reference to Submarine Matters.

Possible side view of South Korea 3,000 ton (displacement surfaced or submerged?) submarine. It will likely be about 84 meters long. Maybe 3,000 tons surfaced and 3,600 tons submerged.


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