SEOUL, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- South Korea has given the production go-ahead for the first 70 Hongsangeo anti-submarine torpedoes for deployment between 2010 and 2012, the government has said.
Up to 70 of the long-range ship-to-submarine light torpedoes, called Red Shark in English, will be operational aboard some of South Korea's newest country's destroyers, the KDX-I/II, according to the procurement agency Defense Acquisition Program Administration.
After nine years of development, the final tests were completed earlier this year, the DAPA's sister organization the state-funded Agency for Defense Development announced in June. Deployment is in response to a growing threat from North Korean submarines, the ADD noted.
The nearly 18-foot, two-stage, precision-guided torpedoes are launched vertically and fly for around 12 miles before parachuting into the sea and heading for their target.
Production of the torpedoes is expected to cost around $145 million with more being manufactured beginning in 2013.
South Korean missile manufacturer LIG Nex1 co-developed the torpedo with the ADD at a cost of around $80 million, the ADD said.
The 14-foot, two-stage, solid fuel vertical launch ASROC missile was first made by Lockheed Martin in 1993 after nearly 10 years of development and production problems. Range is around 14 miles and they have carried several types of torpedoes, lately the Mark 46.
The ADD and LIG Nex1 have cooperated on other so-called shark-series torpedoes, the Blue and Cheongsangeo (Blue Shark) light torpedo and Baeksangeo (White Shark) heavy torpedo.
South Korea first test fired the Cheongsangeo (Blue Shark), missile in 2004. It can be launched from both sea vessels and aircraft such as helicopters and the Lockheed Martin PC-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft, according to a report in the South Korean national Yonhap News Agency.
Deployment on the KDX-II destroyers, part of a ship-building program to develop several classes of destroyers, will help enhance South Korea's move into a blue-water navy, meaning operating across wide expanses of ocean.
The lead ship of the Chungmugong Yi Sunshin class, called the ROKS Chungmugong Yi Sunshin, was commissioned in December 2003. All six of the planned 500-foot ships have been commissioned. Hull design of the 4,400 ton displacement class is by Hyundai Heavy Industries and ships are built by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering.
The ships also carry Hyunmoo III (Korean Tomahawk) cruise missiles for land attack as well as RIM-116 rolling airframe missiles and Hae Sung (Korean Harpoon) ship-to-ship missiles.