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๐—ฅ๐—ข๐—ž ๐——๐—˜๐—ฃ๐—Ÿ๐—ข๐—ฌ๐—ฆ ๐—ก๐—˜๐—ช ๐——๐—œ๐—˜๐—ฆ๐—˜๐—Ÿ ๐—˜๐—Ÿ๐—˜๐—–๐—ง๐—ฅ๐—œ๐—– ๐—”๐—ง๐—ง๐—”๐—–๐—ž ๐—ฆ๐—จ๐—•๐— ๐—”๐—ฅ๐—œ๐—ก๐—˜

South Korea has just deployed its new powerful, air-independent diesel electric submarine, the Dosan Ahn Changho,

After first setting sail in 2018, and undergoing extensive sea trials, the submarine, Dosan Ahn Changho, was commissioned this month, and is the first of nine KSS III class submarine to go on active duty.

South Korean KISS III Class Submarine, the Dosan Ahn Changho, commissioned Aug 2022

Featuring Air Independent Propulsion (AIP), this very quiet submarine can stay submerged for weeks at a time and is ideal for patrolling South Korea's coastal areas.

The 3400 ton submarine (3800 tons submerged) has eight 533mm torpedo tubes and six vertical launch systems (VLS) that can fire both submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and submarine (sea) launched cruise missiles (SLCMs). It has a maximum cruise speed of approximately 20 knots and has an impressive cruising range of 10,000 nmi (11,500 miles).

While a diesel-electric submarine such as the KISS III class submarine, or any number of other modern diesel-electric submarines, cannot match the blue water range and endurance of nuclear submarines such as our own Los Angeles Class , Seawolf or Virginia Class subs, they are a fraction of the cost. Many defense experts believe when it comes to patrolling coastal waters, especially relatively shallow littoral waters, that smaller, more nimble modern AIP diesel electrics can match the performance of nuclear submarine costing billions of dollars more.

And it is a mistake to dismiss the level of threat they pose to any opponent, including our own United States Navy.

Indeed, in 2005, Sweden's Gotland Class AIP Diesel Electric sub, the HSwMS Gotland, was able to penetrate the U.S. Ronald Reagan's ASW defense screen over and over again. The defense screen included many ships, a submarine and and ASW helicopters.

Well-known Naval Analyst Norman Polmar noted that that the Gotland "ran rings" around the American carrier task force. Another source claimed US antisubmarine specialists were "demoralized" by the experience.

Bottom line, modern diesel electric subs are highly capable and in certain situations can be just as much of a threat as any nuclear submarine. And they cost much, much less than their nuclear-powered counterparts, For example the Gotland Class Subs are about $750 million each and the brand new KISS III class submarines are coming in at about $900 million. In contrast our new Virginia Class submarines are coming in at about $3 billion each.

This is not to say that our Navy should move away from nuclear submarines as they provide unmatched endurance, and their ability to sustain speed of 30 plus knots is a multiplier for a Navy with massive blue water responsibilities. So, nuclear submarines do provide good bang for the buck for the U.S. Navy. But there are a numbers of theaters and areas of operation in which modern AIP diesel electric submarines operating out of our naval bases, or our allied bases, could provide more bang for the buck.

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