Seoul announced South Korea's sixth 1,800-ton attack submarine will be delivered to the Navy in November 2016.
South Korea's sixth 1,800 ton Type 214 submarine is being constructed by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. and will be handed to the Navy in November 2016, according to the country's media sources. Equipped with a ship-to-ship Haeseong cruise missile, the submarine will be used in both anti-vessel and anti-submarine military operations. The diesel-powered submarine's maximum underwater speed is 20 knots (23 mph).
The Type 214 submarine is also equipped with Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system that allows the watercraft to operate without accessing atmospheric oxygen for up to two weeks, improving its submerged endurance. Reportedly, the submarine will be able to travel between South Korea and Hawaii without refueling.
The Type 214 submarine is a diesel-electric watercraft developed by Germany's Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft GmbH (HDW). The first three 1,800 ton submarines, designed as Won-il Class vessels, were built in South Korea by Hyundai Heavy Industries and came into service between 2007 and 2009. The fifth watercraft of the class was launched in July, 2014. According to the country's media sources, the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) is currently operating twelve submarines, including 1,200-ton Type 209 and 1,800-ton Type 214 watercrafts.
In February 2015, media reported that South Korea has become the sixth country in the world that established an independent submarine command. The new command has brought operations, logistics, training and maintenance under its control, bolstering the organization's efficiency.
The United States is supporting South Korea's undersea efforts: in January 2015 the countries held joint military drills including anti-submarine warfare training. US-South Korean military exercises have repeatedly been qualified as "provocation" by North Korea that warned its Southern neighbor against aggravating further tensions in the region.