South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) has been awarded a contract for the construction of a new auxiliary submarine rescue ship (ASR-II) for the Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN), the company announced on 7 December.
The 5,200-tonne vessel is expected to be delivered to the service by the end of 2022 as part of a deal signed with the country's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) worth KRW444 billion (USD397 million), according to the Yonhap News Agency.
The ASR-II, which is expected to feature a helicopter deck and reach speeds of up to 20 kt, will have a 'centre well' (moon pool) through which a deep-sea rescue vessel (DSRV) will be deployed to rescue the crews of distressed submarines at depths of up to 500 m amid waves as tall as 4 m.
The 'centre well' will also allow for broader submarine support operations in addition to underwater exploration, according to DAPA.
Moreover, the vessel will embark a remotely operated vehicle that will be capable of operating at depths of up to 1,000 m.
The RoKN currently operates a multipurpose submarine rescue ship - the 103 m long, 4,300-tonne RoKS Cheonghaejin - which was commissioned in November 1996 and can operate in waves of 2 m or smaller. The ship relies on an A-frame to launch and recover the DSRVs.
The service also operates a 107 m, 3,500-tonne, helicopter-capable multipurpose salvage ship named RoKS Tongyeong , which is designed to meet the submarine rescue role. Both ships were built by DSME.