September 26, 2023

KPA Navy flag ship undergoing radical modernization

Najin-class frigate part of major modernization program, may present credible threat to ROK navy

The Korean People's Army Navy is often said to be rich in numbers, yet operating only old barges left over from the Cold War. This stereotype is reinforced by naval exercises displaying outdated equipment and a bad safety track record, as is testified by the numerous accidents in the past. However, recent news about the Navy's various modernization program and suspected new naval vessels equipped with the highly capable Kh-35 anti-ship missile has forced military analysts to radically alter their view on the North's sea-based capabilities.

Some recent developments include the construction of several classes of surface effect ships (SES), some with stealth technology, corvettes capable of carrying helicopters, and ballistic missile armed submarines. Other existing naval craft that had become obsolete are starting to be outfitted with domestically-produced Kh-35 anti-ship missiles, modern close-in weapons systems (CIWS), radar systems and other weaponry.