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16 septembre 2014 2 16 /09 /septembre /2014 11:35
Project 633 diesel submarine. KCNA Photo

Project 633 diesel submarine. KCNA Photo

 

September 16th, 2014 defencetalk.com (AFP)

 

North Korea appears to be developing a new weapons system capable of launching submarine-based ballistic missiles, the South’s defence ministry said Monday.

 

“Based on recent US and South Korean intelligence, we have detected signs of North Korea developing a vertical missile launch tube for submarines,” a ministry official told AFP.

 

Ministry spokesman Kim Min-Seok told a regular press briefing Monday that the North’s 3,000-ton Golf-class submarine could be modified to fire medium-range ballistic missiles.

 

“However, there is no confirmed information yet that a North Korean submarine capable of launching ballistic missiles is in operation,” Kim stressed.

 

North Korea’s small submarine fleet is comprised of largely obsolete Soviet-era and modified Chinese vessels.

 

The US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University said in June that North Korea appeared to have acquired a sea-based copy of a Russian cruise missile.

 

Arms control expert Jeffrey Lewis of the US think-tank said the missile would mark “a new and potentially destabilizing addition” to North Korea’s military arsenal.

 

He identified the weapon as a copy of the Russian-produced KH-35 — a sea-skimming anti-ship cruise missile developed during the 1980s and 90s.

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