The Najin-class frigate surface ships of the North Korean Navy are believed to have been influenced in design by the old Soviet Kola-class.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
Credit: Image from the Public Domain.
The Korean People's Navy of North Korea fields a modest naval force made up of Chinese and Soviet-inspired warships and submarines as well as some types of local design and construction. At least four Najin-class frigates were constructed for the service and were perhaps influenced by the old Soviet Kola-class warships of the 1950s. These conventionally-powered and armed vessels carried sonar and radar but proved too expensive on a per-unit basis for the Soviet Navy to produce more than eight for the class. The Najin-class of North Korea follows the same form and function of the Soviet design and were built in the 1970s with the first commissioned sometime in 1973. Several of the class have been retired while the others remaining in service are undergoing, or have undergone, a modernization program to keep them viable.
These frigates displace around 1,600 tons (short) and have a length of 328 feet, a beam of 32.8 feet and a draught of 8.9 feet. Power is from 2 x diesel units outputting 15,000 horsepower and driving 2 x shafts under stern. The crew complement numbers 180 personnel. Performance estimates indicate a maximum speed of 26 knots with an operational range out to 4,000 nautical miles.
Outwardly, the class is of an outdated design approach as now stealth features are apparent: the main mast is exposed and no helicopter deck is sat over the stern while no effort is made to conceal the smoke funnels. The warship is dotted with turreted gun emplacements and some of these are open-air structures akin to a World War 2-era destroyer. the two smoke funnels are seated in line near midships. The bridge superstructure is located at its usual spot ahead of midships and aft of the forecastle and a second superstructure makes up the aft section of the warship leading to the stern. The lack of helicopter facilities severely restricts the warship's over-the-horizon and submarine-hunting capabilities.
Primary armament is 2 x 100mm /56 caliber turrets guns in single-gunned mountings. This is backed by 4 x 57mm automatic cannons in twin-gunned mountings. A collection of 30mm automatic cannons are also included as are 25mm automatic guns (the latter in twin-gunned mountings). 2 x RBU-1200 five-tubed launchers are installed in fixed positions along the sides of the main deck amidships. The vessel seats 2 x depth charge racks over the stern - another World War 2-era quality. Up to 30 naval mines can be carried which allow the ship to deny certain waterways. The vessel is also equipped with a pair of launchers for the SS-N-2 "Styx" anti-ship or SS-n-25 "Switchblade" cruise missiles giving the class something of a more modern ranged capability.
Modernization of at least one of the class has seen some of the older and more conventional weapons removed in favor of more advanced systems including digitally-controlled Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWSs) and additional missile launchers. Air-search, surface-search, navigation, fire control and sonar are all present on this warship though most likely of lesser capability that those systems featured in Western ship designs. The "Stag Horn" makes up the bow-mounted sonar system.
Ship Class [ Najin-class ] Ships-in-Class [ 4 ] : At least four vessels make up the Najin-class including #531.
- Blue Water Operations
- Fleet Support
328 ft (99.97 m)
Width / Beam:
32.8 ft (10.00 m)
Height / Draught:
8.9 ft (2.71 m)
2 x Marine diesels developing 15,000 horsepower and driving 2 x shafts.
26 kts (30 mph)
3,997 nm (4,600 miles; 7,403 km)
2 x Launchers for SS-N-2 "Styx" anti-ship missiles OR SS-N-25 "Switchblade" cruise missiles.
2 x 100mm /56 caliber turreted main guns in two single-gunned mountings.
4 x 57mm guns in two twin-gunned mountings.
12 x 30mm auto cannons in six twin-gunned mountings.
12 x 25mm automatic cannons in six twin-gunned mountings.
2 x Depth charge racks over stern.
30 x Naval mines.
Some vessels modernized with AK-630-style Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWSs) replacing other gun mounts. Also 2 x Kh-35 missile racks (8 missiles total) installed succeeding the older missile launchers mentioned.
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