Satellite images of a North Korean submarine facility show what appears to be a missile tube being developed for a future ballistic missile submarine.
The commercial imagery was disclosed Tuesday in an article published Tuesday by the group 38 North.
The photos show was appears to be a test stand for a submarine-launched ballistic missile.
“A review of commercial satellite imagery since 2010 covering submarine bases and submarine shipyards has identified a new test stand at the North’s Sinpo South Shipyard, probably intended to explore the possibility of launching ballistic missiles from submarines or of a shipboard vertical launch ballistic missile capability,” wrote Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., a North Korea expert with AllSource Analysis, Inc.
U.S. intelligence agencies first reported the North Korean submarine missile development in internal reports last summer and the reports were later confirmed by South Korea’s military.
According to 38 North, “the new installation is the right size and design to be used for the research, development, and testing of the process of ejecting a missile out of a launch tube as well as evaluating its compatibility with submarines and surface combatants as well as the missiles themselves.”
The report said a future North Korean missile-firing sub would give Pyongyang a survivable second-strike nuclear capability. …
It will likely take North Korea years to build a missile firing submarine.
The missile used could be a Musudan intermediate-range missiles, a Nodong medium-range missiles, or one of North Korea’s Russian-design short-range Scuds.