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South Korea has been boosting its domestic manufacturing capabilities with the launch of a new diesel-electric air-independent propulsion (AIP) submarine. Seoul has exposed the 3,000-ton home-made submarine capable of launching ground-attack ballistic missiles from six vertical launching tubes.

The new 83.3-meter-long, 9.6-meter-wide submarine capable of carrying 50 crewmembers is equipped with six vertical launching tubes capable of firing submarine-to-ground ballistic missiles and can operate underwater for 20 days without surfacing.

“The Dosan Ahn Chang-ho submarine is the Navy’s first mid-class submarine and has been built with a combination of cutting-edge technologies,” the Navy press release said adding, “This is a national strategic weapons system capable of responding to all threats, and it will help strengthen the Navy’s defense capabilities.”

While the country’s existing 1,200-ton and 1,800-ton submarines were built with technological assistance from Germany defense firms, the latest submarine has been domestically designed, and 76 percent of its component parts were made by Korean businesses.

The launch of the submarine took place at the Okpo Shipyard of Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co. on the southern island of Geoje, a South Korean Navy release said, according to defenseworld.net.

Expected to be delivered to the Navy in December 2020 after tests, the submarine’s operational deployment is slated for January 2022.

The construction of the new submarine is part of South Korea’s project to domestically build the 3,000-ton Changbogo-III submarine. The project, worth 3.33 trillion won ($2.97 billion), was launched in 2007 and is set to end in 2023.