Najin-class Frigate, 531 (1993) – Vegetable Garden

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Najin-class Frigate, 531 (1993)


North Korea’s first major indigenous ship, and still the largest produced to this day. Armed with 2x P-15 ‘Styx’ AShMs, 2x 100mm cannons, 2x dual 57mm cannons, 2x 30mm auto-cannons and 6x 25mm auto-cannons. And a vegetable garden.

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 The ships were almost immediately out-of-date for their time.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 configuration as seen in photos from 1993.

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.

The triple 533mm torpedo tube, previously located on a rotary platform in the midsection between the two chimneys, was removed and replaced with 2x P-15 ‘Styx’ AShMs (or alternatively, the SS-N-2A, which are just Chinese produced P-15s). 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.

Instead of 4x 14.5mm cannons and 2x 25mm, the ship is armed with 6x 25mm 2M-3 cannons – 4 located around the bridge, and 2 by the aft funnel – and 2x 30mm AK-230s, 1 located behind the bridge, and 1 located behind the aft funnel. The AK-230s come with MR-104 radars for target acquisition.

The RBU-1200 anti-submarine rockets appear to have been removed.

In this configuration, the Najin-class likely has a “Drum Tilt” (MR-104 Rys), “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).

And, for fun, ship 531 was seen with a vegetable garden between the AShM launchers. If the photo was indeed taken in 1993, this would be at the very beginning of the ‘Arduous March’ famine, which took place from 1994-1998.

The Najin-class in its 1993 configuration would be a 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 will reserve giving a BR suggestion, as I don’t know how AShMs would affect its BR – matchmaking would need to be altered to allow for more missile ships to enter the game. If added without AShM functionality, the 1993 configuration has better AA capability than the original 1973 configuration, but not much else is different.


  • 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 30mm AK-230
    6x 25mm 2M-3
    Missile Armament
    2x P-15 ‘Styx’

  • Sensors and Systems:
    “Drum Tilt” (MR-104 Rys) Radar
    "Skin Head” (Zarnitsa) Radar
    “Pot Head” (Reya) Radar
    “Pot Drum” Radar
    "Slim Net” Radar.

The following are various photos of No. 531 during the 80s and 90s. Some of the earlier photos don’t have the machine gun changes.





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

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The Unknown Warships of the Hermit Kingdom! – The Searchers

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