North Korea reportedly tested new ballistic missile launched from submarine

There are now little more than a few days between repeated announcements of new missile tests in Asia. This time, it's North Korea's turn to announce the successful firing of a new type of submarine-launched ballistic missile, referred to as the Submarine-Launcher Ballistic Missile, or SLBM. . But this time it is not an imposing intercontinental missile intended to strike distant strategic targets such as American cities, but a smaller-sized missile, whose shape and flight plan are reminiscent of the tests carried out in recent years by Pyongyang, and which posed so many difficulties to South Korean and Japanese anti-missile systems.

Indeed, the photos published by the official press agency of North Korea, reveal a missile whose appearance is reminiscent of the KN-23 missile, and the Russian SS-26 Iskander-M from which it is most likely derived, and which a version transported by rail was tested on September 16. The trajectory followed by the missile, with a peak at 60 km and a distance traveled of 450 km, also recalls the performance of this missile designed to operate under the engagement floor of the THAAD and SM-3 anti-ballistic systems deployed in Japan and South Korea by the US Army and the South Korean and Japanese naval forces. And if no precise reference makes it possible to determine the exact size of the missile on the published photos, these parameters are sufficient to estimate with a reduced margin of error that the new missile tested by Pyongyang does indeed belong to this family.

In 2019, Pyongyang carried out its first SLBM Pukkukson 2 missile launch, bringing North Korea into the very closed club of countries with such a capability.

However, such a missile, much more compact than the very imposing Pukkuksong intercontinental ballistic missiles which were unveiled last year, offers increased flexibility of use for North Korea, which would then be able to equip small-sized submarines, and not the imposing Sinpo which serves as platform for intercontinental SLBMs in the country. With a range of 500 km, the missile is indeed perfectly capable of hitting important targets in Japan as well as in South Korea, and can therefore be disseminated on board numerous submarines that it would be almost impossible to neutralize. simultaneously to deprive the North Korean authorities of potentially nuclear strike capabilities, as is the strategy currently being implemented by Seoul to neutralize the nuclear threat of its neighbor.


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