Sohn Won-Il, the first of South Korea's new German-designed, air-independent propulsion capable, Type 214 submarines, was commissioned into service in December 2007. Shown here in the foreground with the USS Nimitz (CVN-68) during that carrier's recent visit to South Korea, Sohn Won-Il was built at Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan. Two sisters are expected in service by 2010 and up to six additional units may be purchased for delivery by 2018. Named for Admiral Sohn Won-Il, a former South Korean Chief of Naval Operations, this new class of submarines joins nine German Type 209 submarines, which entered service between 1993 and 2001. Planning is also well underway on the domestically designed KSS-III submarine program, the first unit of which is expected to enter service in 2021.
By Eric Wertheim