Friday, 13 September 2013

Vice-Admiral's Choice: Sohn Won-yil Class Submarines (Lead Ship: SS-072 ROKS Sohn Won-yil)


The Type 214 is a diesel-electric submarine developed by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft GmbH (HDW). It features diesel propulsion with an air-independent propulsion (AIP) system using Siemens polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) hydrogen fuel cells. The Type 214 submarine is derived from the Type 212,  but as an export variant it lacks some of the classified technologies of its smaller predecessor most important of which is the non magnetic steel hull which makes the Type 212 submarine impossible to detect using a Magnetic Anomaly Detector.

The Republic of Korea Navy has ordered nine Type 214 submarines, designated as Sohn Won-yil Class (Hangul/Hanja: 손원일급잠수함/孫元一級潛水艦; Codename: KSS-II), to be built in Korea by Hyundai Heavy IndustriesDaewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering and STX Offshore & Shipbuilding; three first batch models had entered service since 2007, and six second batch models will enter service from 2012.

The South Korean Sohn Won-yil U214 class is equipped with a SPHINX-D Radar System supplied by Thales Defence Deutschland GmbH. It uses an additional pulse transmitter in the top of the mast. The combination of high power pulse radar and a very low power LPI transmitter is very effective for submarines. During surface operations, the boat sails with an open pulse fingerprint for ESM systems, but within a secret mission the operator switches to LPI mode. The boat remains invisible to others.

South Korea ordered its first 3 KSS-II/ Type 214 boats in 2000, which were assembled by Hyundai Heavy Industries. The Batch 2 order will add 6 more submarines to the Navy, to be built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering.


General Characteristics
  • Displacement: 1,690 t surfaced / 1,860 t submerged
  • Dimensions: length 213 feet 3 inches (65 m) / beam 20 feet 8 inches (6.3 m) / draught 19 feet 8 inches (6 m)
  • Pressure hull: HY-100
  • Armament: 8 x 533 mm torpedo tubes, 4 subharpoon-capable
  • Propulsion: low noise skew back propeller
  • Diesel engines: 2 x MTU 16V-396 (3.96 MW)
  • Charging generators: 2 x Piller Ntb56.40-10 0.97 MW
  • AIP system: 2 x HDW PEM fuel cell module BZM120 (120 kW x 2)
  • Electric motor: 1 x Siemens Permasyn (2.85 MW)
  • Speed: 12 kt surfaced / 20 kt submerged
  • Speed on fuel cells: 2-6 kt estimated
  • Range surfaced: 12,000 miles (19,300 km)
  • Range submerged: 420 nmi @ 8 kt (780 km @ 15 km/h)
  • Range on fuel cells: 1,248 nmi @ 4 kt (2,310 km @ 7 km/h)
  • Mission endurance: 12 weeks
  • Submerged without snorkelling: 3 weeks
  • Operating depth: more than 250 m officially, 400 m estimated
  • Complement: 5 officers + 22 crew
  • Navigation radar: SPHINX-D with 4Kw pulse and tactical LPI radar sensor [Thales Deutschland Kiel]