Najin-Class Frigate, 531 (1973)

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Najin-class Frigate, 531 (1973)



North Korea’s first major indigenous ship, and still the largest produced to this day. Armed with torpedoes, 2x 100mm cannons, 2x 57mm cannons, 2x 25mm auto-cannons and 4x 14.5mm auto-cannons.

The Korean People’s Navy (the KPN, or KPANF) was founded in 1946, and with the onset of the Korean War, was provided with a number of small torpedo boats by the USSR (and later China) that formed the bulk of its equipment. By the end of the Korean War in 1953, the DPRK’s navy was in dire need of new equipment. Throughout the 50s and 60s, the DPRK was armed with torpedo boats, gunboats and submarine chasers from both the USRR and China. The DPRK modified a number of these ships, and built their own slightly modified versions to better suit their needs.

In the early 70s, the DPRK began its construction of its first indigenous ship ‘of true importance’. These were named the Najin-class by the US DoD, after the shipyard where they were built (라진, also less commonly romanised as ‘Rajin’). Two ships were built, initially numbered 3025 and 3026. These numbers were quickly changed to 531 and 631. No. 3025 (531) entered service in the East Sea in 1973, and No. 3026 (631) entered service in the West Sea in 1975. The ships were almost immediately out-of-date for their time. A few upgrades have occurred since – in the 80s, both ships had their torpedoes removed and replaced with AShMs. At some point in the 80s-90s, the ships received different machine guns. In 2014, at least one of the two was outfitted with new electronics and new AShMs.

This suggestion focuses on No. 531 in it’s first configuration.

While the Najin-class are indigenous ships, they have noticeable design similarities to the Soviet Kola-class (Project 42) frigates, built in the 1950s. While the Kola-class are 96m long, the Najin-class are 103m long. Specifications such as armour and weight are unknown, but can quite reasonably be estimated from the Kola-class ships and all the available information.

One triple 533mm torpedo tube, likely to be the Soviet Type 53 (possibly the 53-38), is located on a rotary platform in the midsection between the two chimneys. One 100mm/56 B-34 naval gun is located at each end of the ship, the same as on a number of Soviet ships in game. Directly behind each of the 100mm cannons are dual 57mm/70 ZiF-31 cannons. This is a Soviet naval gun designed in the 50s – they were clip-fed, and could fire at 50 rounds/minute. Two 25mm 2M3 dual cannons are located next to the bridge, and on a platform next to the aft funnel, there are four 14.5mm ZPU-4 quadruple AA guns. One RBU-1200 anti-submarine rocket launcher is located at the bow in front of the 100mm cannon.

In its early configuration, the Najin-class likely has a “Skin head” (Zarnitsa), “Pot-head” (Reya), “Pot drum” and “Slim net” radar.

The ships are said to either have 2 diesel engines, produced 15,000bhp (Jane’s, post-1995), or 3 engines, producing 18,000bhp (Guide to Combat Fleets of the World, 2001). The ships have a speed of roughly 26 knots (48km/h).

The Najin-class in its early configuration would be a mid-high-rank frigate for a future coastal tree for North Korea, as either a sub-tree for China’s future fleet, or as part of a United Korean tree. I suggest a BR of around 4.0-4.3, as it has similar characteristics to the Soviet Yenot and other ships in that range.


  • General
    Displacement: Unknown, > 1600 tons
    Engine: 2x Diesel Engines, 15,000hp
    Top Speed: 26 knots (48km/h)
    Crew: 180

  • Armament:
    Main Armament
    2x 100mm B-34
    2x dual 57mm ZiF-31
    AA Armament
    2x 25mm 2M-3
    4x 14.5mm ZPU-4
    Torpedo Armament
    3x 533mm torpedo tubes
    1x RBU-1200 Rocket Launcher

  • Sensors and Systems:
    "Skin Head” (Zarnitsa) Radar
    “Pot Head” (Reya) Radar
    “Pot Drum” Radar
    "Slim Net” Radar.

No images of the early configuration appear to exist, other than drawings. The following are images of No. 531 after its missile retrofit, along with a few machine gun and radar changes.



The Armed Forces of North Korea: On the Path of Songun – Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

패션.역사.군사의 아침안개 블로그 : 네이버 블로그

The Unknown Warships of the Hermit Kingdom! – The Searchers

At a stretch this can be a destroyer to help flesh a Chinese blue water tree.