The Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) Type 209/1200 submarine Chong Un is seen here on a marine railway at South Korea's giant Daewoo Shipyard at Okpo in March 1999, a year after the 1,285-ton (submerged displacement), German designed boat was commissioned. Other than the Howaldtswerke-built class prototype, Daewoo has assembled all of the ROKN's current seven diesel submarines, which are equipped mainly with European- and U.S.-manufactured machinery, weapons, and sensors. Now, with two of the class left to launch, Daewoo's parent company has decided to leave the money losing shipbuilding business and has put the yard up for sale. Daewoo (teamed witt Howaldtswerke) and arch-rival Hyundai (teamed with France's DCN) had been the principal competitors for the ROKN's larger, follow-on, six-unit SSU submarine program. That project reportedly faces further jeopardy, however, because of a Ministry of Defense decision to purchase three new Kilo-class submarines from Russia as part of a program to reduce Russia's massive lending debt to South Korea. The Korean president was said to be negotiating the arrangements during his late May to 4 June visit to Moscow.
By A. D. Baker III