Analysis of commercial satellite imagery suggests that the Korean People’s Navy’s (KPN’s) West Sea Fleet is continuing a refit programme for its ageing fleet of ‘Romeo’-class (Project 033) diesel-electric conventional patrol submarines (SSs).
Captured on 30 November 2017 the imagery shows a 76.6 m-long ‘Romeo’-class boat undergoing refit at the Tasa-ri Naval Repair Yard located on North Korea’s west coast.
As the KPN’s only long-range patrol submarines, the ‘Romeo’ boats have been kept operational by a series of refit programmes that began in the early 2000s at both Tasa-ri and the East Sea Fleet’s Mayang-do Naval Repair Yard and usually take between two and five years to complete.
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