Seoul has entered into an underwater arms race

Seoul has entered into an underwater arms race
South Korea can make a nuclear submarine fleet
Virtually days of South Korea celebrated the 20th anniversary with a day or the creation of its own combat submarine fleet. In 1992, the country received the first submarine, which, in general, its characteristics has been and remains quite moderate compared with the abilities of submarines adjoining states. But Koreans are taught very quickly, can not only dream, and achieve their goals. We already have their first perceptible progress on «military submarine» field. At the moment, the country’s submarine fleet morning freshness became quite perceptible in the region. After three years in the structure of the armed forces of South Korea will have a separate command of the submarine fleet, and after seven years, the country wants to get quite large submarines, equipped not only with torpedoes, and cruise missiles. Seoul has a very ambitious program from the development of the submarine fleet, which is already being implemented vigorously.

Armed forces without subs

For a long time underwater ability of South Korean armed forces remained close to zero. The country had virtually no own submarines. Right before the start of the 1990s. the only thing that could boast an army of the South in terms of underwater abilities — some semi-submersible vehicles, naval commandos used for covert penetration on enemy shores. Seoul had neither its own submarines or real abilities to deal with such enemy ships. South Koreans in this area relied heavily on the Yankees.

All this is very contrasted with the submarine fleet adjacent powers. South first disturbed and disturbs the DPRK submarine fleet, where there are more than 60 submarines. Having severe an advantage in terms of the properties of weapons and firepower in all other directions, South inferior (and continues to yield) North only on submarines. As you know, Seoul hitherto sure who died in March 2010, the South Korean Navy corvette «Cheonan» was the victim of a submarine torpedo attack North Korea. The boat also came unnoticed, launched a successful attack and also quietly gone, once again proving the weakness of the South on the submarine front. In general, Pyongyang denies any involvement in the incident.

Also DPRK Southerners often they say about escalating submarine fleets all neighbors — China and Japan first, and often recall the revival abilities Navy Russia. Although the United States — the main ally of Seoul, and then remember about the U.S., saying that South American submarine cruisers often occur in this region. The number and power of its own submarine fleets all the surrounding powers — China, Japan, Korea, the United States and our homeland — surpass Koreans.

«Underwater thoroughfare» East Asia

There is another feature of the region, which is still stronger than the desire to provoke South Korea to boost development of its submarine fleet. East coast of the Korean Peninsula bordering the East (Japan) Sea. Unlike washing the western part of Korea yellowish Sea, where the average depth is «insignificant» 50 meters to the east «is serious» — Two kilometers or more. In addition, according to the professionals, then there are a few cool and mix and warm currents, which seriously hamper the ability to detect submarines. That’s why these waters also the adjacent areas of the oceans in the midst of the South Korean military professionals have received the title of «underwater thoroughfare East Asia.» Subs here is not difficult to hide, a very great depth, and means for detecting submarines are often baffled by the local waters that serve decent «cap of invisibility» for submariners. Because in these parts «grazing» and «go» submarines most diverse nations. South Korea is already of course, decided that it was time to declare her own presence on the «underwater front.»

«Changbai-1» or «class 209» firstborn South Korean submarine fleet

South Korea began to implement its own program from the creation of the submarine force relatively recently, particularly if associated with the neighbors — since 1987. In 1992, the Armed Forces have received their first submarine, which was built by the German license shipbuilding division of concern «Daewoo» — «Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Inzhenierig» (Currently one hundred percent independent company). It was a ship with a displacement of 1,200 tons. Such class submarine named in South Korea «Changbai-1» or «class 209». Taking into account that the name «Changbai» used for other types of Korean submarines, then explain that Renhe — it is a historical character, Korean commander of the IX century, which became famous for his victories over the pirates. By the way, is the first submarine was called — «Changbai».

Diesel submarines «Changbai-1» very weak in their abilities. Displacement small underwater without surfacing may be less than 3 days, and with the greatest speed can go less than an hour, arms — 8 torpedo tubes. In general, for a start was good, but less. In total, South Korea was created 9 submarines «class 209» («Changbai-1»), then this step of the project in 2001 was officially discontinued after launching submarines under the name «Iokki.» But all these nine submarines are currently on duty, making hitherto base South Korean submarine fleet.

«Changbogo-2» or «class 214»: much better and stronger

Swiftly enough in Korea started to think about creating a more massive and modern ships than «class 209». In addition, the desire to play its role to build their ships, even with the introduction of technologies zabugornyh and not blindly copy foreign models ready.

Quite rapidly started the second step of the project — «Renhe 2» or «class 214». Note that here and Koreans used extensively zabugornye technology. Although all the chances to overcome if the tender had our homeland, even more so in the political control of Korea since it was obvious desire to ensure the victory of the Russian version specifically, but very uneducated policy, and often complete disregard for the rules of the advertising representatives of our country have led to what advantageous tender won again the Germans.

In the end, with the help of Germany South Korea made «Renhe 2». Ships of this class (another name — «Class 214») have a displacement of one and a half times more than its predecessors — 1,800 tons. Armament same — 8 torpedo tubes, but the main difference is that the ships of this class may be under water without surfacing to 50 days, which significantly increases their ability. In general, at least according to the Koreans themselves, this modification is one of the most successful and advanced diesel submarines own class in the world. C «1-Chanba» many differences and all the best side: had the more advanced engines, sonar, significantly upgraded torpedo reloading system, communication system, the battery, the entire interior of the inner and almost everything else.

First-class submarine «Renhe 2» («Class 214») was launched in 2006, to the truth of the moment has created three ships (2006 — Submarine «Sunvoril» 2007 — «Jeonju» 2008 — «An Jung Geun» ;). 6 more already under construction or in the shipyards or appear in plans. So Makar, ships of this class will also be created 9 — as in the case of the «Changbai-1.»

It turns out that now South Korea’s submarine fleet consists of 12 ships — submarines 9 «class 209» (1,200 tons displacement) and three submarines «class 214» (1,800 tons displacement). But within a few years the South part of the submarine fleet will grow to 18 combat units due to the creation of another six submarines «class 214». If «class 209» built only company «Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Inzhenierig», the «Class 214» produces not only the «Daewoo», and naikrupneyshim shipbuilding company in South Korea (and the world) — «Hyundai Heavy Industries.» The two major Korean rival for government contracts in the field of underwater warships.

Without PE and international prizes

Koreans are quite well acclimatized to their new warships. Not so long ago was marked not only the creation of the twentieth anniversary of the South Korean naval combat, and as such for the duration of the period of trouble-free passage of the Korean submarines. Hitherto on South Korean submarines was not a single tragedy, which in itself is very revealing. During this period, the most first submarine «Changbai-1», which so far in the ranks, took 200 thousand miles.

As you know, the Koreans themselves very well and demonstrate during military maneuvers with the Yankees, where simulated battles against surface ships underwater. Judging from media reports, South Korean divers have not once occupied the first place in the competition and won the duel against hypothetically most modern ships of the enemy, whose role do U.S. Navy ships. In 1999, Korean submarine «Icheon» («Class 209») was given the chance to show their skills, allowing storm actually decommissioned USS «Oklahoma City» displacement of 11 thousand tons. The ship was sunk with the first shot. How often proudly report to Korean newspapers such successes Korean submariners in the style of «one shot — one sunk ship» — Not unique, and that they justify in the exercises with other countries.

About the fact that the submarine «class 214» have been very successful and modern ships, already mentioned. Note also that not so long ago, Koreans have won the tender for the construction of submarines for the Indonesian navy, beating, by the way, including opponents of Russia. So that Koreans could achieve in the field of success and already export their own models of submarines.

Plans: separate command and the latest generation of submarine

But South Korea’s submarine fleet development programm does not want to dwell on what has been achieved. According to the approved programmke reform of the Armed Forces for the period 2030 to 2015 in the structure of the Armed Forces will be a separate command of the submarine fleet, which is geographically located on the peninsula of Jeju. This is another confirmation of the importance that is assigned to Submarine Development in Korea.

On the approach and also next step — «Changbai-3» or KSS-III (another name — «Project SSX»). He anticipates the creation of a fundamentally new submarines, which will be a breakthrough for Seoul in terms of defending their own positions in the competition under water. This project provides for the construction of more large submarines. The press referred to different numbers, but it certainly is clear that the new submarines will have a displacement of 3,000 to 4,000 tons.

It will be used as diesel ships with the ability to stay under water without surfacing to 50 days (like «class 214»), but «Changbai-3» except torpedoes will also cruise missiles and «Chong» («Heavenly Dragon») with a radius of 500 km acts.

In Korean media directly write that with the arrival of new ships, their submarine fleet could threaten North Korea, land of the rising sun, the Russian Federation and China. Many South Koreans openly admit that «Changbai-3» will have an answer not only on the North Korean threat and the growth and strengthening abilities submarine fleets of China, the Russian Federation and the Land of the Rising Sun.

«Changbai-3» thanks to its advanced features will be able to more confidently — in comparison with the «Changbai-1» and «Chanba-2» — Feel in the World Ocean. In essence, this will already be really useful for long military campaigns submarines, kitted out very harsh weapon.

It is planned that in 2020 South Korea will receive up to six submarines «Changbai-3», which will replace most uniformly old — «Changbai-1.» While southerners want to bring the total amount to 18 submarines and throw constant, only replacing old standards on a massive and sophisticated.

Midst of recognizable features ships «Changbai-3» except for displacement of 3 to 4 thousand tons also appear length 85 m, width — 8 m, 6-8 torpedo tubes 553 mm diameter and up to 20 cruise missiles «ship-to-earth» «Chong» (Korean naval cruise missile modification «Henmi-3» class «land-land», in fact — it is somewhat improved version of the famous American «Tomahawk»). By the way, a long time for Koreans to master the technology problem was launching missiles from a submerged position. In the end, the problem of how to decide, but judging by some rumors, did not work without the help of foreign experts.

True at the moment South Korea suddenly appeared problem with the creation of «Changbai-3.» Both Korean companies that can build submarines («Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Inzhenierig» and «Hyundai Heavy Industries») showed no desire to fight for the first step of the government tender, where the stake was the construction of 3 submarines «Renhe- 3 «. To control the Korean army it was a big and very nasty surprise, because waiting for «mortal combat» rivals. But both companies are not satisfied with a very small value, are willing to pay the government shipbuilders. If the Defense Ministry wants to pay less than 700-800 billion. out for each submarine (about 636-730 million dollars), the two shipbuilding companies say that the border is payback at $ 1 trillion. won (about 900 million U.S. dollars) for each submarine of this class. As long as this problem remains unsolved and, but, as you can imagine at some point will be a compromise, and submarines will be built in time.

«Changbai-4»: nuclear submarine fleet?

Along with disputes and hints about what the Koreans who has promoted master technology missile launch from a submerged position, the other big secret and issue related to the submarine fleet in South Korea, it plans to build a nuclear submarine.

Several professionals have long they say that Seoul has to take long and more than plans that would foreseeably new step of the project — «Changbai-4», where you had to make a submarine with a displacement of 5.4 thousand tons, with a nuclear reactor on board and more than a massive rocket and torpedo weapon. As you know, nuclear submarines are very long «wandering» below the sea surface without surfacing. It would be even more ability to increment South Korea.

But there is already a very sonorous voices are heard concerned neighbors — China and the first land of the rising sun, which is not very willing, that the South Koreans have provided themselves with such large and powerful submarines. Well, Americans, judging by their reaction, is also not particularly enjoyed such term. In principle, the Russian Federation and is not particularly «smiling» such option.

Official representatives of Seoul hitherto constantly categorically denied all the rumors about the plans the creation of nuclear submarines. But similar information often occurs on pages media-independent and Korean experts often they say openly that nuclear submarines are needed. But officially, again, no such plans.

However needless to say that the «4-Chanba» and even «Changbai-3» (If the latter will create a bigger size) will likely install a nuclear reactor. At the technical level in South Korea are all prerequisites for mastering similar technologies are: shipbuilding industry — the largest in the world, nuclear reactors — are already being made by the Koreans and exported beyond the limit of launching technology out of the water — there is (or almost there), missile programm — develops very frisky pace. The main issue here is the technology of nuclear reactors of small creatures that could «squeeze» in the body of the submarine. There were rumors that Koreans showed great enthusiasm for getting the «know-how» from other states, it is all but officially denied.

On the other hand, taking into account the existing capabilities of South Koreans, as the lack of a formal ban on the creation of such ships, as it is seen, it is a matter of time, that at some point as part of the South Korean nuclear submarine fleet will ships. If desired, justification or excuse for the construction of such ships can always be found. At least one is always there and nobody can deny it: «Why the United States, China and Russia have, while others (eg South Korea) can not? Especially since we are not talking about nuclear weapons, but only of propulsion. » The truth of course and another that is immediately pour oil on the fire of a regional arms race underwater.

Oleg Kir’yanov


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