According to the official claim made by DSME, the indigenous high-performance fuel cells were critical in achieving this record. This AIP operational test “is directly related to the submarine’s stealth and survivability, which confirms whether the submarine can operate underwater continuously for a long period of time,” the company said in a statement.
Dosan Ahn Changho is equipped with a dedicated fuel cell, which was domestically produced by DSME. The company began research on domestic production of fuel cells with the country’s Agency for Defense Development (ADD) in 2008, and completed fuel cell development in 2014.
The fuel cell system developed by DSME is the second most successful fuel cell system in the world after the one developed in Germany, and was installed in a 3,000-ton class submarine for the first time in the world. As a result of analysis based on the amount of fuel remaining after the completion of the test, DSME revealed that “it showed performance far exceeding the operational performance required by the military“.
“It’s a great achievement that the Dosan Ahn Changho has proven its ability to dive underwater for the longest time thanks to the AIP. We hope that the remaining trial runs will be completed successfully, and we will be able to deliver a medium-sized submarine of the world’s highest quality, originally designed by Korea, to contribute to national security.
Yoo Su-joon, senior managing director of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering’s special ship division
ROKS Dosan Ahn Changho should be nearing the end of its sea trial phase and handed over to the ROKN in the near future.
For the record, DSME received a contract from the South Korean Ministry of Defense worth $ 1.56 billion to build two large conventional/diesel electric (SSK) KSS III Batch 1 submarines on December 26, 2012. Then, on November 30, 2016, Hyundai Heavy Industries received a contract to build another boat of the first batch. Delivery of all three boats is scheduled for the end of 2023. In total, the plan is to introduce into the RoK Navy fleet nine KSS III submarines by 2029: including three ships of the second and third series each.
- Batch-I consists in the first two hulls to be built by DSME and the third submarine to be built by HHI.
- Batch-II will consist in three hulls with some design changes. They will be fitted with a greater level of South Korean technology. In May 2016, DAPA selected DSME for “KSS-III Batch-II Design and construction of the first hull”.
- Batch-III will consists in the three remaining hulls with more advanced technologies
However, the program of construction of the KSS-III submarines underwent repeated delays for technical and financial reasons, which is to be expected for such major programs.