South Korean Navy Changbogo Type 209 Submarine (한국해군 209급 잠수함 장보고함) Source: Wikipedia

South Korean Navy Changbogo Type 209 Submarine (한국해군 209급 잠수함 장보고함) Source: Wikipedia

As reported previously, South Korea has been shopping around its older Type 209 “Changbogo” Class Submarines (한국해군 209급 잠수함 장보고함) to countries in the Southeast Asia/South Pacific regions.

Indonesia has jumped at the chance and appears ready to both fuel South Korea’s ship building industry and double that nations arms exports (or ‘defense exports,’ depending on your POV) with their purchase of South Korean-made submarines:

SEOUL, South Korea – A South Korean shipbuilder said Dec. 21 it had signed the country’s largest-ever weapons export deal, worth $1.1 billion, to sell three submarines to Indonesia.

It also marked the first time that South Korea has grabbed a deal to sell submarines abroad, Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering said in a press statement.

Under the contract, Daewoo will deliver the three submarines, each weighing 1,400 tons, to Jakarta by the first half of 2018.

Each of the submarines can carry 40 personnel and will be equipped with eight weapons tubes to fire torpedoes and guided missiles.

The deal brings the volume of South Korea’s defense exports this year to an all-time record $2.4 billion, more than double the amount from a year ago, the state-run Defense Acquisition Program Administration said.

It is the second major defense deal between the two countries. In May, the South’s state-run Korea Aerospace Industries agreed to export 16 supersonic T-50 Golden Eagle trainer jets worth $400 million to Jakarta. (Source: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE)

While the article fails to mention the class, and details vary slightly on size and crew capacity, it is likely that these Daewoo Shipbuilding and Engineering (대우조선해양)-constructed submarines will mirror the major specifications of the Type 209 Changbogo-class submarine, built from designs procured from German shipbuilding company Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft and their 209 export class.

The 209 Changbogo class is rapidly becoming inferior in comparison to South Korea’s newer submarine purchases and designs, as well as other regional submarine threats. As such, the ROK has warmed to the idea of building or selling their technology to friendly nations in the region. Thailand has also shown recent interest in Korean-made 209s.

It shall be interesting to watch South Korea develop as an arms exporter in Asia, and worth keeping an eye on the nations they’re selling to. Strengthening ties with South East Asian/South Pacific nations is an interesting trend for the ROK in its quest to branch out from under the umbrella of the United States.

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Craig was born & raised in the United States, having recently returned there after over five years in Asia. He is currently pursuing further education in the realms of East Asian Studies and Politics. Craig is an avid fan of the political, economic, and military machinations occurring throughout the Asian continent and how those turning gears affect the rest of the world. He's currently covering both North and South Korea for Asia Security Watch, enjoying shedding light on to this far-too-often ignored slice of Asia.
Craig Scanlan has 82 post(s) on Asia Security Watch