South Korea has completed the design phase of a new 5,200-ton submarine rescue ship, the country’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced on December 15.
The project of developing a new submarine rescue ship, dubbed ASR-II, was initiated in November 2015 together with South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME).
The South Korean Navy already operates a smaller, 3,200-ton submarine rescue ship Cheonghaejin which was commissioned in 1995.
According to DAPA, ASR-II will be a more potent ship capable of operating at depths of up to 500 meters and in adverse weather conditions. The Cheonghaejin could only operate in waves below 2 meters.
Another distinct feature of the new ship is the center well through which deep sea rescue vessels will be deployed. The center well allows for a broader scope of submarine support operations in addition to enabling the ROK Navy to conduct underwater exploration. The Cheonghaejin relies on an A-frame to deploy DSRVs.
DAPA expects to complete all work on the new ship and deliver it to the navy by 2022.