Surface Forces: Another North Korean Surprise

Archives

May 27, 2014: Recent satellite photos show North Korea may have finally completed two light (about 1,500 ton displacement) frigates. These ships, which feature a helicopter pad on the rear (a first for the North Korean Navy) are among the few new warships North Korea has obtained in the last two decades.

Construction on these two ships began in 2007 and they were in the water by 2011. Given the shortages in North Korea and the priority given to the ballistic missile and nuclear weapons program it’s unclear if these ships could be completely fitted out and ready for service by now.

North Korea rarely builds or buys large (over 1,000 ton) warships. The last ones were acquired in the 1980s. Since then North Korea has concentrated on building mini-subs and small missile boats. North Korea has not yet released any information on these two new ships. Given the helicopter pad they could either be used for anti-submarine operations or (more likely) protecting fishing areas (a valuable source of foreign currency) from poachers.

The two ships are each about 76 meters (250 feet) long and would probably be armed with Cold War vintage weapons, and primitive ones at that. The last North Korean attempt to build a large ship was in the early 1980s. It was a catamaran type design that apparently failed. 

 


Article Archive

Surface Forces : Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close