South Korea has reportedly launched its first missile-capable submarine, Dosan Ahn Chang-ho, at the Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) Okpo Shipyard on the southern island of Geoje.

The £535m diesel-electric air-independent propulsion ship is the first of three planned diesel-electric vessels being developed to enter into service with the navy over the next five years.

Dosan Ahn Chang-ho is equipped with new a strategic weapons system that is capable of firing both cruise and ballistic missiles, reported The Telegraph.

“The submarine is expected to be delivered to the South Korean Navy in December 2020 following the completion of a series of tests, and will be deployed for operations in January 2022.”

In a statement, the South Korean Navy was quoted by Korea Times as saying: “The Dosan Ahn Chang-ho submarine is the navy’s first mid-class submarine and has been built with a combination of cutting-edge technologies.

“This is a national strategic weapons system capable of responding to all threats, and it will help strengthen the navy’s defence capabilities.”

Weighing 3,000t, the missile-capable submarine is 83.3m-long and 9.6m-wide, and is capable of accommodating a total of 50 submariners.

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By GlobalData

Fitted with six vertical launching tubes capable of launching submarine-to-ground ballistic missiles, the navy vessel is said to have the ability to operate underwater continuously for 20 days without surfacing.

The submarine is expected to be delivered to the South Korean Navy in December 2020 following the completion of a series of tests, and will be deployed for operations in January 2022, reported Korea Times.