South Korea unveiled its newest attack submarine, the second 1,800-ton vessel in its submarine fleet, here on Wednesday.
The diesel-powered submarine, developed in partnership with Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG, is named Jeongji after a Korean military officer of the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) who led Korean forces in a series of victories against the Japanese navy.
“Jeongji's launch is another feat showing our will to maintain self-reliant defense and strengthen military capability,” Defense Minister Kim Jang-soo said in his congratulatory speech during a ceremony held at a shipyard of Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan, about 400 kilometers southeast of Seoul.
Also on hand were more than 200 senior naval officials, including Navy Chief of Staff Song Young-moo, and industry officials.
Kim added that the world’s top-level shipbuilding ability of South Korea will serve as the basis for the country’s modernized navy and make a great contribution to the development of its defense capability.
The half-hour event was concluded when Kim, his wife, and other dignitaries broke a champagne bottle on the sub in accordance with navy tradition.
The 65.3-meter-long, 6.3-meter-wide vessel can carry a crew of more than 40 and is equipped with torpedoes, mines, anti-warship guided missiles and the Air Independent Propulsion system, which is aimed at enhancing underwater operational capability.
Naval officials said the testing on Jeongji will continue until it is commissioned late next year. The South Korean Navy's only other 1,800-ton submarine was launched last June.
South Korea owns several rather outdated 1,300-ton diesel-electric submarines, also made by the German company.
The country plans to launch its third 1,800-ton submarine next year and also aims to develop nine 3,000-ton submarines from 2010 to 2021 with its own technology. The navy has yet to decide on their fuel system.
ULSAN, South Korea, June 13 (Yonhap News)