The contract, which was signed between the company and KRIT on November 21st, is worth 39.6 billion Korean won or around $30 million.
The deal marks the first time AI will be used in the combat system of a major South Korean military asset. The system is expected to oversee the entire combat management process, including search and track, identification and classification, tactical operations, and engagement.
According to LIG Nex1, the new system will increase the survivability and effectiveness of ROK Navy submarines, which usually operate alone and are, therefore, completely dependent on onboard systems. Moreover, the company expects there to be ample opportunity for export, given that the United States, Germany, and other major Western nations are looking to upgrade their submarines using similar technologies.
“As a company that is crucial to realizing the Navy’s vision of creating a ‘Smart Navy’, we shall try our best [in developing this system]…Using the experience and technology we have accumulated, we will successfully carry out this project.”
LIG Nex1 statement
In addition to KRIT, LIG Nex1 will also cooperate with Cochl, the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology, Korea University, Hanyang University, and Sejong University to meet requirements.
Although details have not been released, it is likely the system will be used in the KSS III or Dosan Ahn Changho-class submarine. The lead vessel of the class deployed for the first time in August this year.
The move to acquire an AI-based combat system is part of a broader effort by the ROK Navy to incorporate automation, AI, and unmanned systems into its fleet. Last month, the force announced the creation of an unmanned fleet that will become fully operational by 2040. It also revealed the “Navy Sea GHOST” concept, a new operational doctrine that includes both traditional and newer, unmanned assets.