South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) has received a 444 billion-won (approx. US$400 million) contract to build a new submarine rescue vessel for the Republic of Korea Navy.
The detailed design and construction contract comes 12 months after South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced that the design phase for the 5,200-ton ship had been completed.
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 rescuing distressed submariners from depths of up to 500 meters. An embarked remotely operated vehicle will be able to descend to 1000 meters below the surface. Compared to the ROKS Cheonghaejin, which can only operate in waves below 2 meters, the ASR-II will tolerate more adverse conditions.
According to a DAPA release from 2017, the new ship will have a 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.
DSME expects to complete all work on the new ship and deliver it to the navy by 2022.