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Submarine involved in the 1996 incident as described.
|Builders:||Bong Dao Bo Shipyards, Singpo|
|Operators:||Democratic People's Republic of Korea|
|Preceded by:||Yugo class|
|Succeeded by:||Sinpo class|
|Subclasses:||attack version, infiltration/reconnaissance version|
|Active:||40 (March 2011)|
|Lost:||1 captured by South Korea|
|General characteristics (Sang-O I armed version)|
|Displacement:||275 tons (surfaced), 370 tons (submerged)|
|Propulsion:||Diesel-electric: 1 small diesel, 1 electric motor, 1 shaft|
|Range:||1,500 nautical miles (2,800 km)|
|Test depth:||150 metres, capable of bottoming|
|Capacity:||0 (10/11 in recce version)|
|Notes:||Fitted with a snorkel|
The Sang-O class submarines 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
It was widely reported 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.
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.
According to the KPA Journal, 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 increased 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.
- "N.Korea Builds up Submarine Force" (PDF). The Chosun Ilbo. 21 March 2011.
- Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. (21 March 2011). "KPN deploys new version of Sang O class Coastal Submarine". KPA Journal.
- "South Korea releases details of North Korea coastal submarine". 25 April 2011.
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