Sang-O-class submarine

The Sang-O (Shark) class submarines (Hangul: 상어급 잠수함) are in use by North Korea, and are the country's second 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 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

Sang-O II / K-300Edit

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 possibly housed in some of the extra length.

See alsoEdit


  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 linksEdit