Next-generation wire-guided heavyweight torpedo ready for mass production

By Lim Chang-won Posted : May 17, 2022, 10:44 Updated : May 17, 2022, 10:44

[Courtesy of the Defense Agency of Technology and Quality]

SEOUL -- The improved version of Bumsangeo (Tiger Shark), a wire-guided heavyweight torpedo for submarine loading to strike enemy surface ships and submarines from a distance, is ready for mass production and field deployment after it succeeded in underwater test-firing for quality certification.

The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), an arms procurement agency controlled by the defense ministry, has launched a project to develop Bumsangeo-II, the next generation of the Tiger Shark torpedo that weighs 1.7 tons and has a range of 50 kilometers (31 miles). The original version developed in 2019  can be directly guided through the manipulation of its path, speed, and depth by wire.

The quality excellence of Bumsangeo-II was improved by hitting targets in test-firing twice, one from a 1,800-ton submarine in March 2022 and the other from a 3,000-ton submarine on May 9, opening the way for full-scale mass production, according to the Defense Agency of Technology and Quality (DTaQ), a DAPA-funded institute that conducts the inspection, analysis, assessment, and information management of defense technology.

DTaQ said that Bumsangeo-II would contribute to defense exports as it achieved a high localization rate of 99 percent. "This test is significant in that the excellent quality of homemade wire-guided torpedoes was verified," DTaQ's guided weapons center head Jang Bong-ki said in a statement on May 17.  

A DAPA official in charge of maritime guided weapons, said that  Bumsangeo-II's mass production has become possible through its successful underwater testing. "We will do our best to link Bumsangeo to overseas exports based on a high localization rate of 99 percent beyond contributing to the military's high-tech power enhancement as an excellent guided weapon."  

South Korea has developed various torpedoes. Hongsangeo (Red Shark) weighing 820 kg can be deployed on surface ships, helicopters and anti-submarine patrol aircraft. The precision-guided torpedo with an operational range of 19 km can be launched vertically from ships before being deployed by parachute near the intended target and submerging into the sea to track and destroy targets. 

Chungsangeo (Blue Shark) is a light anti-submarine torpedo system that can be deployed from surface ships, helicopters and aircraft. Chungsangeo with an operational range of 19 km is 2.7 meters long and weighs 280 kg.

In April 2022, LIG Nex1, a defense contractor in South Korea, was selected as a preferred bidder for a military project to develop the improved version of Chungsangeo by 2029. Chungsangeo-II will have improved detection and attack capabilities. LIG Nex1 produces a wide range of advanced precision electronic systems such as missiles, torpedoes, radars, tactical communication systems and naval combat systems. 
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