SEOUL – South Korea has test-fired a homegrown submarine-launched ballistic missile, a report said Tuesday, as it seeks to build up its forces to defend itself from the nuclear-armed North.
Pyongyang has long sought to develop submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) technology, and showed off four such devices at a military parade overseen by leader Kim Jong Un in January, with state media KCNA calling them “the world’s most powerful weapon”.
But while North Korea has released pictures of underwater launches, most recently in 2019, analysts believe that was from a fixed platform or submersible barge, rather than a submarine.
South Korea’s Agency for Defense Development last week carried out underwater ejection tests of the SLBM from a new, locally developed 3,000-tonne class submarine fitted with six vertical launching tubes, Yonhap reported, citing unnamed military sources. The SLBM is believed to be a variant of the country’s Hyunmoo-2B ballistic missile, with a range of around 500 kilometres (310 miles), and will be mass produced for deployment after another round of tests, it added.
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