North_Korean_VSV

It is a myth that North Korean naval vessels are by definition clones of older Russia or Chinese designs. In fact North Korean naval architects have produced a long string of original designs, often with novel features. They have Semi-Submersibles, catamarans, Surface Effect Ships (SES) and now they have Very Slender Vessels (VSVs). I have been tracking these developments since 2012 so this article is long overdue.

VSV
Video captures of Dear Leader giving guidence on VSVs, from bemil.chosun.com -very good source (in Korean)

The first North Korean VSV appeared in 2012 just outside the capitol Pyongyang, at a pier often used to showcase new naval vessels. The first craft was soon joined by another, and in 2013 a slightly larger one (29m vs 24m). And then by several much smaller (10m) examples.

The smaller ones have not been seen on Google Earth since 2013 (?) but the larger craft moved to Nampo where it is probably in limited operation. Much more recently a VSV has appeared at Wonsan on the East Coast.

To date, VSV types observed are:

VSV

North Korean VSVs have a lot in common with other VSVs, but are in no way a clone of any known type. The most substantial difference is that they are constructed out of steel (analysis based on video footage of construction halls and photographs). Although the craft have signature reducing features, they are betrayed by the weapons systems and lattice mast high on the craft.

Despite so few images we can piece together the weapons fit for the largest VSV. It has three rocket launchers and two (or more) torpedo tubes in swing-out launchers either side of the bridge. It also has a twin-arm manually trained MANPAD station on the aft deck. It does not appear to have any cannons. It has been suggested that this type is intended for anti-submarine warfare although without a sonar it may be very limited. More likely (in my view) it is a fast patrol boat.

The smaller types are quite possibly Special Forces and/or swarm/nuisance attack types.

Specifications (Largest VSV)
Length: 32-34m
Beam: ~5m
Speed: 50kt (reported)
Armament: 2 x torpedo tubes, 3 x 24 MLRS, 1 x 2 MANPADS

VSV
This smaller VSV is possible the 10m design. Note the larger VSV behind.


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IMINT
VSV
VSV

1. Pyongyang
VSV

VSV

VSV

VSV

VSV

2. Nampo
VSV

VSV

..... VSV

VSV

3. Chonjin
VSV

4. Changion
VSV

5. Wonsan
VSV

WARNING - not DPRK VSV
South Korean news agencies showed stock footage of the British
MarySlim
VSV from Multimarine during news segments on the North Korean craft. This is not a North Korean VSV.
VSV
VSV
VSV


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