North Korea test-fires ballistic missile into the sea, presumed to be SLBM

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Vaibhav Agrawal
Vaibhav Agrawal
Vaibhav Agrawal is a Defence and Aerospace Journalist with his articles/works on various digital and print media platforms. He is an Anchor/Host and Correspondent associated with several News Media Organizations. He is responsible for Digital Media and Defense reporting at Frontier India. *Views are personal

As per statements by the South Korean military, a ballistic missile was fired into the sea by North Korea on Tuesday which was the latest in a series of tests the North has been conducting. According to a few analysts, the launched missile could potentially have been a submarine-launched weapon.

As per officials, the missile was fired from Sinpo into the sea east of the peninsula and was an “unidentified ballistic missile”.

Early indications

Several satellite photographs have earlier shown submarines at Sinpo from where the missile was fired and it is a major naval shipyard for the North.

Previously, an underwater launch was carried out which the analysts claim to be from a “submerged platform” rather than a submarine while North Korea was believed to be developing a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). 

The launch on Tuesday is the latest one after a long-range cruise missile was tested by the nuclear-armed state in recent weeks which was a train launched weapon and was claimed to be a hypersonic warhead by the nation.

The nuclear show-off 

Gigantic intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) were revealed during a rare weapons exhibition hosted by the North at a night-time military parade in the previous year.

With South Korea testing its first SLBM in the previous month, something of a regional arms race seems to be developing on the peninsula while on the other hand, the United States gets blamed by the North for offering tensions and dismissing Washington’s assertions that it does not have hostile intentions. At the cost of international sanctions, the North Korean leader has now overseen rapid progress in the State’s military technology.

“Tests series” 

North Korea came up with several missile tests in the current year with many of them conducted in the previous month. 

The nation had reportedly tested a long-range cruise missile on the 11th and 12th of September 2021 which was capable of hitting much of Japan as saying by state media.

On 15th September 2021, ballistic missiles were launched from a train for the first time by the North and said to continue to bolster its defences while another short-range missile was launched in the sea by the state on 28th September 2021 which could have violated a U.N. Security Council ban on North Korean ballistic activities. 

An anti-aircraft missile was test-fired on 1st October 2021 for which Pyongyang said that all these weapons were much needed for self-defence, accusing the US and South Korea of “double standards.

Rapid Developments

The state has tested several missiles throughout the year 2017, demonstrating the rapid advances in its military technology.

Putting US military bases on the Pacific island of Guam well within striking distance, The Hwasong-12 was very well thought to be able to reach as far as 4,500km and Later, the Hwasong-14 demonstrated a greater range of 8,000km while some experts suggested it could travel as far as 10,000km if fired on a maximum trajectory.

This missile would have confirmed Pyongyang with its first truly intercontinental ballistic missile, capable of reaching New York.

Eventually, another missile known to be the Hwasong-15 was tested, peaking at an estimated altitude that was 10 times higher than the International Space Station. The missile was capable enough of achieving a maximum range of 13,000km, putting all of the continental US in range.

On the other hand, North Korea unveiled its new ballistic missile in October 2020 and again in January 2021, a new type of submarine-launched ballistic missile was unveiled by the state which is declared to be “the world’s most powerful weapon”.

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