The South Korean Navy
's 1,300-ton submarine Lee Eokgi is participating in a multinational naval exercise designed to promote cooperation and interoperability in the submarine rescue arena in Asian waters, Navy officials said.
The Pacific Reach 2007, held in the waters off the HMAS Stirling Naval base in Western Australia from
Nov. 26 to Dec. 7, brings nine Asia-Pacific naval
forces together to improve submarine rescue capabilities and make them familiar with each other's submarine rescue equipment. The drill is also aimed at developing new submarine rescue techniques.
Other participating nations are the United States, Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, Singapore, China and Malaysia. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the International Submarine Escape & Rescue Liaison Office (ISMERLO) are also observing the exercise, the fourth of its kind, the Navy said in a press release.
The exercise started in 1999 and has been conducted on an irregular basis. The third event was held in May 2004 in the waters off Jeju Island.
Commissioned in December 2001, the diesel/electric-powered Lee Eokgi has a maximum submerged speed of 22 knots.
Currently, South Korea has nine German-made Type-209 subs and two Type-214 (1,800-ton) subs equipped with state-of-the-art torpedoes and submarine-to-surface missiles. Seven more Type-214 hulls will be built over the next 11 years.
The Navy also plans to build indigenous 3,000-ton KSS-III submarines by 2017. The new submarine will be armed with advanced ship-to-ground cruise missiles and capable of performing underwater operations for up to 50 days with a more advanced air independent propulsion (AIP) system.
Source: Korea Times