Yu Gwan Sun Ham

Daewoo Shipbuilding Engineering has launched a new type 214 submarine for the South Korean Navy, enhancing the underwater capabilities of the country.

Named Yu Gwan Sun Ham, the submarine represents the sixth underwater capability of the Korean navy and is claimed to be the first female-named warship in navy history.

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The vessel has been named in honour of a patriotic martyr of South Korea, Yu Gwan-sun, who participated in the independence movement.

South Korea Defence Minister Han Min-koo said: "With its unique invisibility and survivability, Yu Gwan Sun Ham is a national core strategic weapon, as well as a symbol of a strong navy for obtaining maritime control.

"The navy should develop the fighting power of the submarine to protect the national interest and the ocean sovereignty as a rock, and have an elevated readiness posture."

With a displacement capacity of 1,800t, the 65.3m-long and 63.m-wide Yu Gwan Sun Ham will be capable of cruising at a maximum speed of 20k.

Designed to accommodate arpproximately 40 sailors, the submarine is capable of making a round-trip from South Korea to Hawaii in the US without refuelling.

"With its unique invisibility and survivability, Yu Gwan Sun Ham is a national core strategic weapon as well as a symbol of a strong navy."

It will be capable of charging a storage battery without air using air independent propulsion (AIP). With this capability, the vessel will be available for operations for two weeks without floating to the surface.

In addition, Yu Gwan Sun Ham will have a capacity to deal with 300 targets at the same time from under the water, using a domestic submarine-to-ground cruise missile, Haeseong.

This new submarine will feature detection sensors, such as sailing radar, periscope, sonar and a decoy system that avoids enemy torpedoes.

Yu Gwan Sun Ham is expected to be delivered to the navy in November 2016.

Image: Participants during the launching ceremony of Yu Gwan Sun Ham submarine. Photo: courtesy of Ministry of National Defense Republic of Korea.