Images from the South Sinpo Shipyard suggest indirect evidence of the construction of a new ballistic missile submarine, according to the report released Wednesday by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
The evidence corroborates last month’s claims in North Korean media that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has inspected a newly built submarine in an undisclosed location.
North Korea is believed to have a Sinpo-class submarine in operation, which launched in 2016 a so-called KN-11 ballistic missile in the Sea of Japan.
However, the Sinpo-class submarine has only one missile launch tube and experts speculated that the country would attempt to build a submarine with several launch tubes.
“The construction and commissioning of such a ballistic submarine would be a significant advance on the nuclear threat and North Korean ballistic missiles and would complicate defense planning in the region, given the difficulties in locating them. or target them preemptively, “the analysts said in the new report.
Authors Joseph Bermudez and Victor Cha write that support ships and a crane on satellite imagery suggest preparations for a submarine-launched ballistic missile test.
However, they warn that it will probably take a year or more of testing and cruising to make the new submarine truly operational, even if a launch test is imminent.