The South Korean Navy begins operations on its third KSS-II submarine today, following an 18-month sea trial period.

The 1,800t Type-214 diesel-electric submarine is equipped with state-of-the-art torpedoes and submarine-to-surface missiles. It can perform underwater operations for as long as two weeks submerged at depths of up to 400m.

The 65.3m-long submarine can accommodate a crew of 40 and has a maximum submerged speed of 20kt. It is equipped with air independent propulsion (AIP), which provides stealth capability and improves its underwater performance.

The submersible warship features ISUS-90 integrated sensor submarine system with which the operators can handle variable information and detect up to 300 targets simultaneously.

Built by Hyundai Heavy Industries in collaboration with Germany’s Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW), the submarine costs around $1bn to produce.

The third Type-214 submarine was named after a Korean independence fighter Ahn Jung-geun.

South Korean Navy says it will launch six more Type-214 submarines, create a submarine command by 2018 and build indigenous 3,000t submarines after 2018.