SEOUL: The South Korean military plans to draw up a comprehensive operation plan on submarine capabilities to better deter potential threats by North Korea and other neighboring countries, officers said on Thursday.
The plan will be part of the country’s ongoing efforts to bolster its underwater capabilities and combat readiness. Earlier this month, the Navy inaugurated a submarine command in the southern port city of Jinhae that operates 13 submarines — nine 1,200-ton submarines and four 1,800-ton subs.
“As our military’s key capabilities in operational and strategic terms, the submarine command needs to materialize the proactive and offensive concept of operation suitable for the combat circumstances of our time,” said Admiral Choi Yun-hee, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during his visit to the command headquarters.
Noting that North Korea has revved up efforts to boost naval capabilities by developing submarines capable of firing submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and a high-speed, wave piercing craft called the very slender vessel (VSV), Choi instructed the troops there to horn “one shot, one sink” skills to counter enemies’ provocations.
South Korea’s intelligence said the communist country is believed to be developing the SLBM, and the US website 38 North assessed that Pyongyang has built a new test stand on its eastern coast to research and develop such missiles. The VSV is believed to be aimed at infiltrating the inter-Korean sea boundary to quickly occupy South Korean border islands in case of war.
“The comprehensive operation plan on submarine capabilities to be based upon the existing one aims to counter not only threats by North Korea but potential danger to be posed by neighboring countries,” another military officer said on condition of anonymity, without further elaboration.
“The military will also continue to develop precise and powerful underwater weapons to attach them to our submarines,” he added.
The Navy has said it plans to add five more 1,800-ton submarines to be built by 2019 and to deploy nine 3,000-ton submarines capable of launching ballistic missiles, starting in 2020.
North Korea is believed to have significant superiority in the number of submarines to South Korea, having some 70 vessels, including about 20 1,800-ton Romeo-class submarines.