Submarines built by North Korea are making up a large number of the force, such as the Sang-O class and the Sang-O II class

Basically, it can be said that North Korea’s submarine fleet is not of high quality. These submarines are mostly old, with limited combat capabilities by current standards. However, South Korea cannot ignore the large number of North Korean submarines, which can block its waters at any time. Small North Korean submarines have a certain advantage in operating in shallow water, they can lay mines to block South Korea’s vital shipping routes.

The characteristics of the Korean Peninsula and the Sea of ​​Japan area are the sea level is not too deep, there are many large geographical fractures under the seabed, which is also said to be very suitable for small submarines to operate. On the contrary, this terrain causes many difficulties for current anti-submarine measures. This is also the reason that the US and South Korea are promoting cooperation, to improve the ability of submarine early warning in the region.

North Korea's OLD submarine fleet
North Korea’s OLD submarine fleet

One of the proofs of the ability of North Korean submarines to work effectively is that in 2010, a North Korean submarine sank the South Korean frigate Cheonan, killing 46 South Korean crew members. Not to mention, North Korea’s small submarines are extremely suitable for carrying out commando landing missions into South Korean territory from the sea. In the past, there was a large-scale mission discovered, a North Korean submarine ran aground due to low tide, unable to escape into international waters.

So far, although North Korea’s submarine fleet has basically not had too much development compared to before, it is still enough for harassing activities, causing South Korea and the US to have a headache to find ways to cope. In the event of a large-scale war on the Korean peninsula, it is highly likely that North Korea’s submarine fleets will make it difficult for Seoul to deal with.


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