Sang-O-class submarine

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Sang-O class
1996 NK sub (cropped).jpg
Submarine involved in the 1996 incident
Class overview
Builders: Bong Dao Bo Shipyards, Singpo
Operators:  North Korea
Preceded by: Yugo class
Succeeded by: Sinpo class
Subclasses: attack version, infiltration/reconnaissance version
In commission: 1991
Completed: 41+
Active: 40 (March 2011)[1]
Lost: 1 captured by South Korea
General characteristics (Sang-O I armed version)
Type: coastal submarine
Displacement: 275 tons (surfaced), 370 tons (submerged)
Length: 34m
Beam: 3.8m
Propulsion: Diesel-electric: 1 small diesel, 1 electric motor, 1 shaft
  • 7.5 knots (13.9 km/h) surfaced
  • 7 knots (13 km/h) snorkeling
  • 9 knots (17 km/h) submerged
Range: 1,500 nautical miles (2,800 km)
Test depth: 150 metres, capable of bottoming
Capacity: 0 (10/11 in recce version)
Complement: 15 crew
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • Two 533mm torpedo tubes fitted with Russian 53-65KE torpedoes
  • Capable of minelaying
Notes: Fitted with a snorkel

The Sang-O (Shark) class submarines (Hangul: 상어급 잠수함) are in use by North Korea, and are the country's largest indigenously-built submarines. A single unit was captured by the Republic of Korea Navy (South Korea) after it ran aground on 18 September 1996 in the 1996 Gangneung submarine infiltration incident.

Sang-O II / K-300[edit]

A Sang-O-class submarine captured by South Korea on display at Tongil (Unification) Park near Gangneung in 2012.

It was widely reported[2] in March 2011 that a new version of the Sang-O class had been deployed in North Korea. Satellite imagery from 2005 suggests the Sang-O II / K-300 may have been produced at the Mayang-do naval base and fitted out at the dry docks located at 39.9978 N, and 128.20019 E.[3]

Other footage of the nearby docks of Sinp'o appear to depict the Sang-O II / K-300 as early as 2004 (at 40 01'31.20"N 128 09'55.80"E). Subsequent satellite imagery shows the Sang-O II / K-300 deployed to the Ch’aho-rodongjagu submarine Navy Base at 40.205441 N 128.649524 E on North Korea's east coast.[3]

According to the KPA Journal,[1] the decision to develop a larger, improved version of the Sang-O came in the late 1990s or early 2000. The Sang-O II / K-300 is a stretched version of the original Sang-O class with an approximate length of 39 to 40 metres and a corresponding surface displacement of approximately 300 to 340 tons.

The increased length and internal volume would suggest an increase in the operational range of the submarine and troop/equipment carrying capabilities. Top speed is also reported to be higher in the new model, meaning an improved propulsion system is likely using some of the extra length.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "N.Korea Builds up Submarine Force" (PDF). The Chosun Ilbo. 21 March 2011.
  2. ^ Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. (21 March 2011). "KPN deploys new version of Sang O class Coastal Submarine". KPA Journal.
  3. ^ a b "South Korea releases details of North Korea coastal submarine". 25 April 2011.

External links[edit]