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Missile launch tube observed on N. Korean submarine base

Missile launch tube observed on N. Korean submarine base

Posted September. 15, 2014 03:58,   


South Korean and U.S. intelligence reportedly observed a missile launch tube on a North Korean submarine base earlier this year. The South Korean and U.S. Military are focusing on analysis of the possibility of North Korea’s submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) development.

According to a source from the military on Sunday, the U.S. intelligence satellite observed devices that looked similar to missile launch tubes on the Mayang Island submarine base in the Sinpo coastal waters of South Hamgyong Province earlier this year. This device is installed on a submarine and used to launch missiles in the water. The missile launch tube was observed while not on the submarine but on the ground.

In the documents submitted to New Politics Alliance for Democracy Rep. Jin Seong-jun, a member of the National Defense Committee, the Joint Chiefs of Staff also mentioned that there was some possibility for North Korea to load SLBMs on the submarines. But the Joint Chiefs of Staff added that there has been so far no evidence that the North actually loaded SLBMs on the submarines. Source from the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, “It is not proved yet North Korea has submarines capable of carrying SLBMs.” To install a missile launch tube on a submarine, the capacity must be over 3,000 tons. The biggest submarine owned by the North is known to be Romeo-class 1,800-ton submarine from the old Soviet Union.

Still, it is hard to exclude the possibility that the North has secretly been developing a new submarine capable of carrying the missile launch tube. According to the British yearbook Jane`s Military, North Korea imported 20 Golf-class (3,000 tons) submarines decommissioned by Russia in 1994. Since then, possibility has been raised that North Korea is able to develop its own unique submarine models through reverse-engineering, by disassembling and reassembling them. The U.S. political and military webzine Free Beacon pointed out last month the possibility of North Korea to have 3,000-ton submarines and SLBM.

If North Korea uses submarines with SLBM in combats, it is highly likely to neutralize the Kill Chain (South Korea’s defense system to detect, keep track of and hit the North’s nuclear and missile bases) to be established by early 2020. It is practically impossible to detect a submarine that moves under water by stealth. Military source said, “We are open to every possibility and gather intelligence data through collaboration between U.S and South Korea.”