On December 28th last year, LIG Nex1 was awarded a contract worth of 670 billion South Korean won (531 million USD). This contract consisted of two separate deals for the acquisition of two different types of guided ammunitions. A budget of 350.8 billion won (278 million USD) was reportedly allocated for K-SAAM while Tiger Shark costed slightly less at 319.8 billion (253 millions USD).
Both ammunitions will start being delivered to the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy once the production ramps up by mid-2023. Final delivery is set for 2027 for both ammunitions, coinciding with the recently published ROK Navy’s Mid-Term Defense Plan.
Min-kyu Park, Director of the Guided Ammunition Center at DAPA said in a statement this week:
“DAPA will do its best to contribute to the Republic of Korea Navy’s (ROKN) Mid-Term Defense Plan by promptly producing and deploying guided weapons developed with domestic technology and will further seek for overseas exports based on the highly-sophisticated technologies used in development of these weapons.”
K-SAAM / Haegung
Development of K-SAAM began in 2011 to replace Raytheon’s RIM-116 RAM (Rolling Airframe Missiles) system in service with the ROK Navy. Following years of development, the missile system had its first successful launch test in 2018, after which DAPA signed a low-rate initial production (LRIP) contract with LIG Nex1. Known locally as “Haegung”, the system achieved IOC (Initial Operational Capabilities) in 2020, followed by FOC (Full Operational Capabilities) the next year.
This homegrown missile defense system is already fitted aboard Dokdo-class amphibious assault ship ROKS Marado and Daegu-class frigates (FFX Batch II). The ROK Navy also plans to deploy K-SAAM on next-generation warships including Ulsan-class frigates (FFX Batch III) and the new Jeongjo the Great-class destroyers (KDX III Batch II).
Tiger Shark torpedo
Initially dubbed by LIG Nex1 as “Heavy Torpedo-II” program, the development of the Tiger Shark HWT began in 2012. In March 2020, DAPA awarded a contract to LIG Nex1 regarding the initial batch production of Tiger Shark torpedoes. As Naval News reported previously, the Tiger Shark has achieved FOC by the end of 2022.
Tiger Shark features many technical advantages over its predecessors. Like many modern heavyweight torpedoes, such as the German DM2A4, French F21 and American Mk 48, it uses fiber-optic cable. This allows for “man in the loop” features such as updating the target information mid-course.
While the ROK Navy did not officially comment on which submarines (other than KSS III) will operate this new locally designed-and-built torpedo, multiple sources have suggested that KSS-II class submarines will also be fitted with the Tiger Shark.