South Korea’s Navy is in possession of a new advanced 1,800-tonne submarine which it hopes will improve its underwater prowess against its northern neighbor amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
The navy received the Yu Gwan-sun submarine at a ceremony at the shipyard of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. on Geoje Island near the southeastern port city of Busan, reported the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), the country’s arms procurement agency.
“The Yu Gwan-sun is the world’s top-class diesel-powered submarine capable of handling more than 300 underwater targets at the same time. Equipped with a fuel battery system, it can conduct underwater operations for 10 days or longer without surfacing above the water,” said Choi Hee-kyung, a DAPA official in charge of the program.
Choi noted that South Korea has 15 submarines in service and that the new addition will help narrow the quantity gap with North Korea, the number of whose submarines reportedly exceeds 80.
The new sub will be commissioned in December after crew members are properly trained.
Relations between the two Koreas have been characterized by consistent tension. The neighbors have been in conflict ever since they fought a war in the early 1950s. In recent years, Seoul has expressed deep concern about Pyongyang’s missile and military programs.
Those programs have also deeply concerned Washington. The North, currently under a raft of crippling United Nations sanctions, says it will continue its military programs as long as the country faces hostility from the US.
The US recently deployed an advanced missile system on South Korean soil to counter potential threats from the North, further angering Pyongyang.