South Korea’s Defense Project Promotion Committee has reportedly approved a new project to develop lightweight torpedoes.

State arms procurement agency Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) was cited by Yonhap News Agency as saying that the new lightweight torpedoes will bolster the Republic of Korea Navy’s (RoKN) anti-submarine capabilities.

The project has a target time period of up to 2028 and the torpedo will be designed, developed and built domestically. It is worth nearly $135m (KRW160bn), reported the news agency.

In 2017, local defence firm LIG Nex1 unveiled its Tiger Shark Heavyweight Torpedo System concept during the MADEX exhibition.

The Tiger Shark was expected to be deployed on the RoKN’s submarines last year.

The company has also developed the K745 Blue Shark torpedo for the country’s naval platforms. It is a light anti-submarine torpedo with an operational range of 19km.

In addition, DAPA officials said that the committee also approved another project valued at $400m (KRW470bn) to supply global positioning system (GPS) guided bombs for Air Force operations by 2027.

The GPS-guided bombs package project includes separate contracts with four international firms.

The project endorsements follow confirmation reports by North Korea of the test-firing of a new, smaller submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) last month.

In September 2021, the South Korean Navy is said to have test-fired an SLBM from a locally developed submarine.