South Korea Awards Contracts for
Two Trouble-Plagued Ship Programs
By AMI INTERNATIONAL INC.
South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration
(DAPA) has selected Daewoo
Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) to build the fourth
KSS- 2 Type 214 submarine and
Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction (HHIC) to build the next
four PKX-A fast attack craft for the
Republic of Korea Navy.
DSME’s selection marks its
return to the submarine manufacturing business. It previously constructed eight of the nine 1,400-ton
Chang Bo-Go-class KSS- 1 (Type
209) submarines, but lost the Batch
I contract for three 1,800-ton Son
Won-Il-class KSS- 2 (Type 214) submarines to its main domestic rival,
Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI),
in 2000. DSME and HHI will compete for the construction of the
remaining five units of the Son
Won-Il class, with DAPA requesting
bids for each individual unit. All
nine units are expected to be commissioned by 2018.
HHIC built the initial PKX-A
Batch I unit, which was completed
in June 2007. The Batch II contract
for the next three units was awarded in 2007 to STX Shipbuilding,
with construction scheduled to
begin in 2010.
The two procurement programs
have had a history of technical
problems. The first of class Son
Won-Il continues to suffer noise
problems, reportedly due to alleged
faults in the ThyssenKrupp Marine
(HDW) Type 214 design. South
Korean and Greek Type 214s had a
host of other nearly identical problems, including instability while
surfaced, periscope vibrations and
sea water leaking in the hydraulics.
While these problems in the
South Korean Type 214s have been
reportedly resolved, the noise level
has yet to be reduced as promised
by HDW. The company was fined
2.87 million euros ($4.1 million)
by DAPA in February 2008 for
ongoing technical problems.
In November, a South Korean
National Assembly demanded price
reductions for the remaining six
subs, arguing that HDW was using
the South Korean market to correct
faults in the Type 214 to increase
the submarine’s overall international export potential. It is uncertain if
DAPA received a price reduction
for the fourth unit when it was contracted to DSME.
As for the PKX-As, first of class
Yun Yeong-Ha has yet to operate
effectively when sailing above 20
knots, half the required speed of 40
knots. Problems have been attributed to the nexus between the
water jet propulsion system and
the hull’s design.
Commissioned on Dec. 17, Yun
Yeong-Ha initially will function as a
test bed for the development of a
revised design, which is expected to
be reflected in future construction.
In the shadow of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, the Republic of Korea
Navy Type 214 submarine Son Won-Il sits moored at Busan Naval Base, South
Korea, in February 2008. Type 214-class submarines have had a host of technical
problems, the worst being noise issues in Son Won-Il that have yet to be resolved.
To Get Third AOR
The German Parliament has approved the purchase of the third
Berlin-class fleet replenishment
oiler (AOR) for the German Navy.
The hull will be built at Flensburger
Schiffbau-Gesellschaft in Flensburg
to commercial mercantile shipping
standards. Where no applicable
civilian specifications exist, military
standards are to be used.
The ship will be constructed with
a steel double hull in accordance
with international environmental
guidelines governing oil tankers.