North Korea tests baby Poseidon, a submarine drone that can create a nuclear tsunami

NOKO can now launch ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads against ground targets, detonate nuclear warheads in the air to maximum destructive power, and launch covert surprise attacks from underwater.

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Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P. Chacko is the publisher of Frontier India. He holds an M.B.A in International Business. Books: Author: Foxtrot to Arihant: The Story of Indian Navy's Submarine Arm; Co Author : Warring Navies - India and Pakistan. *views are Personal

North Korea announced that it had successfully carried out an underwater explosion test in the East Sea at the same time that it displayed for the first time a nuclear-powered unmanned undersea assault boat. This type of weapon is intended to attack aircraft carriers or ports. Through the public display of a large number of nuclear delivery systems and platforms, it raises the level of danger posed by nuclear weapons. 

North Korea’s “Chosun Central News Agency” and the Labor Party’s official newspaper “Rodong Sinmun”, reported on March 24 that, from the 21st to the 23rd, the Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party of Korea conducted an underwater explosion test of a “nuclear unmanned underwater attack boat” in the presence of Kim Jong-un. 

The Korean Central News Agency reported the nuclear unmanned underwater attack boat, which was put into training off the coast of Liwon County, South Hamgyeong Province, on the 21st, sailed for 59 hours and 12 minutes at a depth of 80 to 150 metres in an oval and ‘8’-shaped course set in the East Sea, and on the afternoon of the 23rd, the vessel target point in the seas of Hongwon Bay, which represented a port., before it burst underwater.

As a consequence of the test, the report stated that the dependability and safety of all tactical and technical parameters and technological navigational indicators of the nuclear uncrewed aerial vehicle were validated, as well as its fatal strike capacity.

There was a hint in 2021

‘Chosun Central News Agency’ writes that the weapon system was named ‘Haeil (Tsunami) of Nuclear Unmanned Underwater Attack Boat’ at the 8th party Congress in January 2021 and stated the weapon system has passed more than 50 final-stage tests over the previous two years.

Chairman Kim Jong-un announced the five basic tasks of the five-year plan for building national defence strength at the 8th Party Congress, which included the ownership of nuclear submarines and underwater-launched nuclear strategic missiles.

The underwater weapon goal

According to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), this weapon system aims to secretly dive into operational seas and generate a tremendous radioactive tsunami with an underwater explosion to destroy and exterminate enemy ship groups and important ports of operation. It can also be towed ashore or carried aboard a surface vessel.

North Korea’s underwater nuclear drone resembles Russia’s ‘Poseidon’ concept. The Russian Poseidon torpedo is a nuclear-powered unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) designed to operate at deep depths and deliver a nuclear warhead to coastal targets. It is also known as the Status-6 Oceanic Multipurpose System. According to reports, the Poseidon torpedo can have speeds of up to 200 kilometres per hour (125 miles per hour) and depths of over 1,000 metres. (3,300 feet). It reportedly has a range of up to 10,000 km. (6,200 miles).

Estimations of the NOKO underwater tsunami submarine

The North Korean (NORK) ‘tsunami’ submarine is considerably smaller than the Russian nuclear-powered underwater drone ‘Poseidon,’ but larger than a normal torpedo. Therefore, it cannot be carried aboard existing NOKO submarines. In contrast, the Russian Poseidon may be transported by the specially designed submarine Belgrod.

It is a weapon between nuclear torpedoes and the Russian Poseidon. Nuclear weapons are mounted aboard an autonomous submersible in a self-destruct attack. Nuclear bombs that are more powerful than tactical nuclear weapons must be carried for a tsunami to destroy aircraft, ships, and ports. 

North Korea equipped the nuclear unmanned underwater attack boat with a standard battery. 

Launching a submarine-like Poseidon’ would be ideal for maximum stealth and survival, but North Korea’s submarine skills are lagging; as a result, it is suspected that they infiltrated the coastline or were towed by a ship.

NOKO can now launch ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads against ground targets, detonate nuclear warheads in the air to maximum destructive power, and launch covert surprise attacks from underwater.

It is challenging to detect such small-sized devices underwater; even if one does, it is incredibly difficult to stop them. A submerged weapon system is the one with the highest degree of stealth. 

North Korea’s announcement of a submerged time of 59 hours and 12 minutes to demonstrate the capabilities to attack all of South Korea. Since the average speed of an underwater nuclear drone is approximately 4 knots, the submerged range is expected to be greater than 400 kilometres, which is sufficient to reach all South Korean ports from North Korea.

This weapon is capable of carrying both nuclear and conventional bombs. The Tsunami Submarine can be equipped with several kilotons (1 kiloton equals 1,000 tonnes of TNT) to several dozens of kilotons of nuclear warheads. According to South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sub, North Korea has achieved great progress in the miniaturisation of nuclear bombs and the general development of nuclear weapons.

Before and throughout the South Korea-US joint “Freedom Shield” (FS) drill period (March 13-23), North Korea has continued to unveil new weaponry that it says is capable of delivering nuclear bombs.


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