Signs have been detected at Sinpo Shipyard in South Hamgyong Province that North Korea is preparing to launch an SLBM. Experts observe that North Korea may launch its newly developed SLBM in the days preceding and following April 15, Kim Il Sung’s birthday anniversary, subsequent to last month’s failed test-firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile that can strike the U.S. mainland.
Beyond Parallel, the website on North Korea run by Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), released on Wednesday eight satellite images showing unusual activities of the 8.24 Yongung (August 24th Hero) experimental ballistic missile submarine (SSBA), a harbor tug, and the submersible missile test stand.
The photograph taken on March 22 showed a small harbor tug pulling the stern of the 8.24 Yongung experimental ballistic missile submarine from underneath the canopy. On March 23, the submarine was concealed below the canopy, and the tugboat anchored beside the floating dry dock. The 8.24 Yongung SSBA, tugboat, and dry dock are the three elements of North Korea’s test firing of SLBM. North Korea pulls the floating dry dock by a harbor tug to the nearby waters and test-fires underwater ballistic missile.
Analysts point out that there is a possibility of North Korea test-fire its SLBM named the North Star-4 and North Star-5, which it unveiled at the military parade in October 2020 and January 2021, respectively. As North Korea has reportedly failed to test fire the new ICBM Hwasung-17 on Feb. 16, it is likely to show off its military might by firing the new SLBM.
An official familiar with the South Korean Defense Ministry said that North Korea may attempt to demonstrate its military power by conducting new SLBM targeting U.S. bases in South Korea and in Japan, subsequent to its ICBM provocation targeting the mainland U.S., using “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” approach.