November 03, 2000 18:57
The Ministry of National Defense announced Friday that it has chosen Class 214 submarines of Germany's HDW as its next generation submarine. The ocean-going vessels are 65.5m long and have a displacement of some 1,800 tons. Weapons can be fired from 8 torpedo tubes and it has a complement of about 35 men. It is more advanced that the existing Class 209. Its biggest feature is the Air Independent Propulsion or AIP that allows the submarines to stay submerged for more than two weeks when the existing diesel submarines need to recharge their fuel cell near the surface at least once a day.
Japan, China and even North Korea do not own any submarines with AIP. The Ministry will build three Class 214 submarines worth W1.27 trillion and construct mid-sized submarines with self-developed technology. The mid-sized submarines will have ground attack capability to prepare Korea against possible threats from neighboring countries even after the eventual reunification. The Defense Ministry will chose either Dawoo Heavy Industries Ltd. or Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. through an open bid as the builder.
Fierce competition between the two company is expected as when Dawoo built all of the nine Class 209 submarines, Hyundai went so far as to start an administrative litigation claiming it was a monopoly. Daewoo claims that letting Hyundai build the submarine would result in overcapitalization. However, Hyundai points out that it should not be excluded from the project since major industrialized countries have more than one submarine shipyard for strategic reasons and Hyundai is capable of constructing submarines.
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