South Korean Navy receives new advanced 1,800-tonne submarine to increase its underwater warfare capability against the North Korea amid escalating tensions in the region, local media reported Monday.
The Yu Gwan-sun submarine was handled to the country’s navy at a ceremony at the shipyard of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. on Geoje Island near the country’s southeastern port city of Busan, Yohnap news agency reported, citing the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), country’s arms procurement agency.
“The Yu Gwan-sun is the world’s top-class diesel-powered submarine capable of handling more than 300 underwater targets at the same time. Equipped with a fuel battery system, it can conduct underwater operations for 10 days or longer without surfacing above the water,” Choi Hee-kyung, a DAPA official in charge of the program, was quoted by the agency as saying.
According to Choi, Pyongyang is known to have more than 80 submarines, and the new sub will allow Seoul to narrow the quantity gap. South Korea has just 15 submarines in service. The Navy plans to commission the new sub in December after training crew members.
Tensions between the two countries have risen in recent years amid Pyongyang’s nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches, conducted in violation of UN Security Council resolutions. The dialogue with North Korea is a part of newly elected South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s policy, aimed at reconciliation on the Korean peninsula.