In a shocking development, the arms race in the Korean seas has seen the latest swing as satellite images now confirm that North Korea is indeed very well on track to build and deploy its first operational ballistic missile submarine.
All pictures: http://www.38north.org/2017/11/sinpo111617/
An analysis of the pictures that were obtained by Washington-based monitoring group 38 North show an ongoing operation at the Sinpo South Shipyard on the country’s east coast.
Mr Joseph S. Bermudez Jr, a Defence and Intelligence expert said the various photographs showed an “aggressive schedule” to finish.
“A probable launch canister support, or launch canister, appears to be present within the service tower at the missile test stand suggesting the ongoing ejection testing of submarine launch ballistic missiles (SLBM).”
The submarine dubbed the Sinpo-C by the US intelligence community, is likely a successor to North Korea’s Gorae-class ballistic missile submarine
Military analysts stated that the construction of a second ballistic missile submarine at Sinpo could suggest that North Korea plans on potentially operationalizing a sea-based deterrent capability around multiple submarines in the coming years.
Mr Bermudez Jr continued: “Such testing could support the continued development of SLBMs, a new ballistic missile submarine or a combination of both.”
“The presence of what appears to be sections of a submarine’s pressure hull in the yards suggests construction of a new submarine, possibly the SINPO-C ballistic missile submarine — the follow-on to the current SINPO-class experimental ballistic missile submarine.”
However, Dr Peter Layton, of Griffith University, said he believed the submarine would only be used as a back-up: “Given the astonishing speed of the DPRK (Democratic Republic of Korea) in building and testing new rockets the rather placid scene here is interesting. The focus to me then seems very much on building a submarine-launched ballistic missile, not the submarine which will carry it. The DPRK might be happy with the design of the first Sinpo class and happy to build the remaining five of the class later after the missile is proven.”