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New North Korean submarine could carry 3 ballistic missiles SLBM

According to a news released on July 31, 2019, to the NK News website, the new North Korean submarine that was unveiled last week is able to carry three submarine-launched ballistic missiles. This information was confirmed by a report published by South Korea’s defense ministry.

New North Korean submarine could carry 3 ballistic missiles SLBM 925 001 Illustration of North Korea new modified ROMEO Class submarine able to carry three SLBM submarine-launched ballistic missiles. (Picture source Twiter account  H I Sutton )

According to U.S. military sources, North Korea is currently seeking to expand its submarine fleet. Satellite imagery released by the specialist website 38 North, showed that North Korea began constructing what is likely a new training center near the Sinpo Shipyard for their submariners, to replace the smaller center they previously had nearby.

The new North Korean submarine could be the Sinpo class submarine, also called the Gorae or Pongdae class, a new class of submarine fully produced in North Korea.

North Korea has developed only one sea-launched ballistic missile, known as the Bukkeukseong-1 also called Pukkuksong-1 or Pukguksong-1, or Polaris-1. The missile is a two-stage, solid-fuel missile designed to be carried on a single Sinpo-class submarine. The submarine only has one missile tube. North Korea has performed a test-fired with the Bukkeukseong-1 SLBM from near the eastern port city of Sinpo, on August 24, 2016. The missile traveled about 500 kilometers before falling in Japan's air defense identification zone in the Sea of Japan.

According to military sources, North Korea Navy is one of the world’s largest submarine fleets, with an estimated fleet from about 64 to 86 submarines. North Korea maintains approximately 40 Sang-O-class coastal submarines (SCC), 20 Romeo-class conventional submarines (SS), 20 Yugo- and Yono-class midget submarines (SSM), and a single diesel-electric ballistic missile submarine (SSB) known as the Gorae-class.